Part Six : “…to the saints…”

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Religion which is pure and undefiled in the sight of God, even the Father, is this: to look after orphans and widows…and to be keeping one’s self unspotted from the world.”  (James 1:27) (Emphasis mine)

As the earth rises over the surface of the moon in this NASA photograph, I hope the truth about the world is rising in your consciousness as you read this conclusion to the blogs concerning the Lord Jesus rescuing repentant sinners from this present evil age. (Galatians 1:4)  To access the other five parts on this subject, scroll to the end of this post.

There is one word in the New Testament (NT) that describes born again believers and their relationship to the world.  When the Apostle Paul writes the Ephesians, he addresses his letter  “…to the saints,…”.   The word translated “saints” in the English language is “hagios” in the Greek language and to the Greek it meant “devoted to the gods”.  The Greeks used it when they dedicated a temple or a person to the worship and service of one of their pagan gods.

Our New Testament authorities tell us the English  words “saint, sanctify, sanctification, hallow, holy, holiness” are all translations of Greek words from the root word hagi. The verb hagios means “to set apart for God”,  and refers to the act of the Holy Spirit setting apart for God the sinner who places his faith in Jesus Christ “rescuing us from the domain of darkness and transferring us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” .
(Colossians 1: 13).

The writers of the NT used this word hagios to designate those people who have been separated from the world, Satan’s kingdom, for the purpose of worshiping and serving the true God through His Son, Jesus Christ. 

The Holy Spirit, through the NT writers, took this word to a higher level by adding a moral component not found in pagan usage. The pagan religions were not concerned with the morals of its followers. The major pagan temple in Corinth had 3000 “sacred” harlots.  The eastern religions were very immoral and this is why many Greeks and Romans were drawn to the Jewish religion with it’s high moral standards.  In the book of Acts you see Paul preaching in the synagogue to Jews and Gentiles.

Concerning our behavior or morals, the God that we have been “set apart to” says this to us, His adopted children:

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who has called you, be holy yourselves also in your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY , FOR I AM HOLY.””
(I Peter 1: 14-16)

And in 2 Corinthians 6: 16- 7:1 God says:

“I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THERE GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. THEREFORE, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; and I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty. 

“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

Notice it is “let us cleanse ourselves“.  So after salvation, in 2 Peter 1: 4  we are told:

“….applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence,….”

Notice that the scripture says we should be diligent to add moral excellence to our faith. Moral excellence or virtue is “morally good behavior or character, or the conformity to a standard of right”.  Our Heavenly Father sets the standard of right behavior which is holiness or separation from what He says is evil. Not what we may think is evil but what He says is evil or defilement.  His standard is shown in the life of Jesus. The Holy Spirit gives the believer the desire and power to change his behavior which will result in him forsaking evil.  In other words, if we are a liar, we stop lying. If we are immoral, we stop being immoral. If we are greedy, we become a giver.  If we are one who hates, we become a forgiver and a lover of people.

Throughout the New Testament we are exhorted to forsake our futile way of life inherited from our forefathers and “become conformed to the image of His Son…” (Romans 8: 29).

In conclusion, the evil age that we live in is manifested in the evil characteristics of the kosmos (world), which is Satan’s ordered kingdom and the possible source of seduction of every born again believer. We have been separated from this evil by God at salvation and are separated to the worship and service of Him, being conformed to the image of His Dear Son over our lifetime and eternity and overcoming the world so that we do not consider it precious anymore.

Only by yielding daily to the Holy Spirit can you have the victory over Satan, your indwelling sinful nature and the world.  God is on our side and will give us the victory if we will just exercise our will to chose obedience to Him instead of sin and trust in the Holy Spirit to empower us to overcome.

ANYTHING in your worldly interaction that neutralizes or quenches your worship and service to God The Father, is not from the Father but is from the either the world, Satan or your own indwelling sinful nature as a source and should be repented of and forsaken.  The world is full of “unclean” things and we should not even “touch” them.

God bless you. I hope you have been blessed by this rather long study.  Thank you for your time.

” …He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him, who died and rose again on their behalf.”  (Emphasis mine – II Corinthians 5:15)

Carl

 

God’s Rescue of Man (Part 4)

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“…the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that He might rescue us out of this present evil age,…”  Galatians 1:4

(To see parts one through three, scroll down to the end of this blog.)

The picture, which is reported to be the largest outdoor mural in the world, is to me a good composite of mankind that Jesus came to rescue.  Notice the eyes that are looking to the side as if something has caught his attention. May Jesus catch man’s attention with His love.

Continuing our previous discussing on the corrupting influence of this evil age, God warns us about the world in I John 2: 15-17:

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”

We are commanded not to “love” (agapao) the world nor the things in the world. The Greek word for “love” in this context means “a love called out of one’s heart by the preciousness of the object loved.”  Apostle John was warning some believers to “Stop loving the world with a love called out of your hearts because of its preciousness.”. The verb used, speaks of the act of forbidding the continuance of an action already going on. The world system that God rescued them out of was still precious to them.  John was telling them to stop loving the world.

The Greek word for world here is kosmos and is defined by Vincent as follows:

“The sum-total of human life in the ordered world, considered apart from, alienated from, and hostile to God, and of the earthly things which seduce from God.”

Kenneth Wuest says:

“Kosmos refers to an ordered system. Here it is the ordered system of which Satan is the head, his fallen angels and demons are his emissaries, and the unsaved of the human race are his subjects, together with those purposes, pursuits, pleasures, practices, and places where God is not wanted. Much in this world-system is religious, cultured, refined, and intellectual.  But it is anti-God and anti-Christ.”

After reviewing the NT scriptures that use the word kosmos I put this composite together:

Jesus called Satan the “ruler of the world” (John 14:30) and the whole world lies in his power (I John 5:19). All unsaved people are deceived by Satan (Rev 12:9) by his blinding of their minds, (2 Cor 4:4) preventing the light of the gospel from shining in. Therefore the kosmos is a dark spiritual place and a place of bondage. This is why Jesus came as a Light into the kosmos. Ephesians 2:2 tells us there is a “course of this world” which is “according to the prince of the power of the air”,  unsaved people behave according to their cravings  for things of the world thinking this is the way to true happiness and fulfillment only to find out it is a satanic illusion. They love the world because it is precious to them (II Tim 4:10); have worldly values (I John 4:5) which manifest through their words (Titus 2:12), Paul tells us to avoid worldly and empty chatter (I Tim 6:20) and worldly fables (I Tim 4:7).  Jesus said there are “stumbling blocks” (Matt 18:7) in the world.

“Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world (John 18: 36). Jesus chose you, the born again believer, OUT of the world (John 15:19). After discipleship, Jesus sends His disciples back INTO the world (John 17:18) as lights in the world (Phil 2:5). Jesus prayed that the Father would not remove His disciples from the world but protect them from Satan (John 17:5). Believers can be conformed to the world (Rom 12:2, James 1:27) and be defiled by the world  (2 Pet 2:20). The “worries of the world” and the “deceitfulness of riches” choke out the word of God in the believer’s heart making him unfruitful in the things of God (Matt 13:22).  Disciples will have tribulations in the world but we will overcome the world (I John 5:4, I John 4: 17, John 12:25).  The abiding word of God makes believers strong and helps us to overcome Satan (1 John 2: 14) The saints will judge the world in the end times (I Cor 6:2).

In summary, the modern world (kosmos) we live in today exist in the same pernicious age (aion) that Paul and Peter lived in.  The moral characteristics of the age will not change until the Lord Jesus establishes His millennial reign on the earth.  Technology has leaped forward a thousand fold but the evil moral characteristics of man remain.  The predominate religion today is the false religion of works, whether it be works by themselves or mixed with belief in Jesus Christ.

This concludes our study of the world. Next post will explain the remainder of I John 2: 15-17.  Hope you will join us again.

May the Holy Spirit search our hearts to show us where we are still considering the world precious.  The next post will reveal some characteristics of the world.

“… because everything that has been born of God is constantly coming off victorious over the world. And this is the victory that has come off victorious over the world, our faith. Who is he who is constantly coming off victorious over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 

(I John 5: 4-5 Kenneth Wuest Expanded Translation)

Carl

 

 

God’s Rescue of Man (Part 3)

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“…the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might rescue us out of this present evil age…”   (Galatians 1:4)

“Be having salt in yourselves,..”   Lord Jesus  (Mark 9:50)

The twelve disciples had been walking down the road with Jesus and, among themselves, they had been debating which one of them was the greatest.  The Lord begins to correct them about how to be the greatest in the kingdom of God and warning them about temptation, sinning, and hell.  At the end of the conversation, He makes some comments about being “salted with fire” and salt.  In the interest of brevity, I will only address what is related to our discussion on the pernicious evil age and its corrupting influence.

When He mentioned salt, the Apostles minds would of probably immediately thought about how the law of Moses stated that temple sacrifices should be salted with salt. Secondly, they would of remembered that salt was a preserving agent.  Peter, John and James, all former fishermen,  may of used salt to preserve their catch of fish.

By having “salt” in themselves, it would prevent the corrupting influence of the evil pernicious age.  Remember the effect of the evil influence is likened to decay and rot on your morals or virtue. What does salt represent?  One fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5: 22-23 is self-control and I believe that is what Jesus is using salt to represent.  Self-control will keep you from being “carried away” or “towed” by Satan and enticed to sin.  It preserves your morals from decay and rot. The indwelling Holy Spirit gives us the ability to control our will.   We are told in II Peter 1: 5-6 to add the qualities of self-control or temperance to our lives. This would protect them and us from the corrupting influence of the age which Lord Jesus came to rescue us from.

Concerning salt in our lives, the Holy Spirit led me to Matthew Henry’s A Commentary On The  Whole Bible. Here are his comments written prior to 1721 A.D.:

The nature of man, being corrupt, and as such being called flesh (Gen. vi. 3; Ps. lxxviii. 39), some way or other must be salted, in order to its being a sacrifice to God.

“Our chief concern is, to present ourselves living sacrifices to the grace of God (Rom. xii. 1), and , in order to our acceptableness we must be salted with salt, our corrupt affections must be subdued and mortified, and we must have in our souls a savour of grace.  Thus the offering up or sacrificing of the Gentiles is said to be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, as the sacrifices were salted, Rom. xv. 16.

“Those that have the salt of grace, must make it appear that they have it; that they have salt in themselves, a living principle of grace in their hearts, which works out all corrupt dispositions, and every thing in the soul that tends to putrefaction, and would offend our God, or our own consciences, as unsavory meat doth.

“Our speech must be always with grace seasoned with this salt, that no corrupt communication may proceed out of our mouth, but we may loath it as much as we would to put putrid meat into our mouths. As this gracious salt will keep our own consciences void of offence, so it will keep our conversation with others so, that we may not offend any of Christ’s little ones, but may be at peace one with another.”

Did you notice how he compares the effects of the evil influence of the age to “putrid meat”, “unsavory meat” and “putrefaction” in the soul. This is the rot and decay that we mentioned earlier. He also mentions “our corrupt affections must be subdued and mortified”. “Mortified” is an old English word meaning ” to subdue and kill”; in the Christian sense “to reckon” dead as Paul tells us in Romans 6: 11 (KJV).

Therefore, we need to do as the Lord said and “Have salt within yourselves…” How do we do that? Believe what Paul said about your identification with Christ and present or yield yourselves to God as His servant and trust in the indwelling Holy Spirit to give you the desire and power to do the will of God as you exercise self-control to say “NO” to the enticements of Satan and the age. When you exercise your will to say “No”, He, the Holy Spirit will give you the power to follow through.  Your sinful nature will not have dominion over you! This will increase the fruit and power of the indwelling Spirit in our lives AND MAKE US MORE USEFUL TO GOD.  This is the only way to stop the corruption of this age from defiling us. Only God’s way works.

Hear Lord Jesus through Paul’s words in Romans 6:12-14:

“Thus, also, as for you, you be constantly counting upon the fact that, on the one hand, you are those who have been separated from the sinful nature, and, on the other, that you are living ones with respect to God in Christ Jesus. Stop therefore allowing the sinful nature to reign as king in your mortal body with a view to obeying it [the body] in its passionate cravings. Moreover, stop putting your members at the disposal of the sinful nature as weapons of unrighteousness, but by a once-for-all act and at once, put yourselves at the disposal of God as those who are actively alive out from among the dead, and put your members as weapons of righteousness at the disposal of God, for [then] the sinful nature will not exercise lordship over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

(Wuest Expanded Translation)

This completes the third installment of this series. The next blog will address what Apostle John had to say about loving the world. I hope you will join us.  May God richly bless your understanding of these things and may His indwelling Spirit empower you with self-control.

“Have salt within yourselves…”   Lord Jesus

Carl

 

God’s Rescue of Man (Part 2)

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“…the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might rescue us out of this present evil age….”

(Part One may be found at the end of this blog.)

Has the devil ever taken you “in tow”?  This is what the picture represents. Your love for God being “towed” away.  Read on to find out what in the world I am talking about.

Apostle Paul says Jesus came to be the substitutionary atonement for our sins. He took our guilt and the penalty the guilt required.  One reason He did this was to rescue us from this present pernicious age.  Because it is pernicious, this age has a corrupting influence upon the born again believer. Apostle Peter tells us in II Peter 1:4 that God has given to born again believers everything we need to live a godly life and become partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”

The corruption (phthora)  that we need to  escape is defined in the English dictionary as “to degrade with unsound principles or moral values” and “to change from good to bad in morals, manners, or actions”.  The Greek word means “a bringing or being brought into an inferior or worse condition, a destruction or corruption” (Vines).  Some authors refer to the effect of corruption as “inward decay and rottenness”. 

In other words, if we are not being led by the indwelling Holy Spirit, the corrupting influence of this age will cause our love for God (expressed in obedience to Him) to become infected with evil passionate cravings resulting in disobedience (sin). Our good morals or Christ likeness begins to rot or decay.  Another way to say it, is that our love for God is corrupted by a worldly love that considers something in the world more precious than God.

The effect of the  pernicious, corrupting influence of the age is to “carry away” or, as the original language says, “taken in tow”,  the believer from his steadfast love for God by “enticing him with his own lust” .  This is what James is saying in chapter 1:14:

“But each one is being solicited to sin when he is taken in tow and enticed by his own craving.” 
(Wuest)

Satan uses the things of this evil, pernicious age to “carry us away” or “take us in tow”.  The first thing he does is to get us distracted from God and focused on something  in his kingdom (the world) and he hooks us up to his Enticement Wagon, so to speak, so he can “tow” us further down the Road of Distraction where he entices you with things that you crave, i.e. attention, money, fame, power, liquor, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, drugs, rebellion, your way, freedom, etc.  And:

“Then when the aforementioned craving has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and this sin when it is full grown brings forth death.” (James 1:15)

It is “conceived” when we give our “will” over to do the enticement. When we say “Yes” to it. Satan knows what our passionate cravings were before we were saved and he will use the same passionate carvings to “entice” us to sin.  Plus new ones. I was never a drug user; therefore, he does not tempt me with illegal drugs but he tempts me with other  things that were in my life prior to salvation. Let us therefore, if possible, steer clear of areas of the world where we know our past and present temptations exist. Be wise as a serpent but as harmless as a dove.

In Mark 9:50 the Lord Jesus warns the twelve disciples “Have salt in yourselves…”  This is an important commandment and we will discuss salt and how it relates to this present evil age in the next blog. Hope you will join me.

Thank you for your time and God bless you and your family.

Don’t be taken in “tow” by Satan.  “…be keeping one’s self unspotted from the world” it says in James 1:27.  Stay free from the corruption of this age and stay steadfast in your love for God. Let us keep our minds full of the Word of God and our eyes fixed on His purposes in the earth.  Let us be led daily by the indwelling, powerful Holy Spirit who He has so graciously made to dwell in us!

Let us pay close attention to ourselves for the purpose of holiness.

Carl

 

 

 

 

God’s Rescue of Man (Part One)

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If you have been reading this blog, you probably know that “lust” in the Greek New Testament means either good or evil “passionate cravings”. Today we are starting a four  part blog on God rescuing us from this present evil age. I thought this picture was appropriate since the Pernicious One (Satan) and our flesh (old sinful nature) want us to follow our evil passionate cravings resulting in enslavement and destruction, ruining our Christian testimony and robbing us of God’s blessings.  May this study be a blessing and warning to you as it was to me.    Carl

“… Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age…”  Galatians 1:4

The Lord Jesus willingly gave Himself on the Cross for our sins. This scripture states that the purpose  was to “rescue” us “from this present evil age”.  The word translated “rescue” means “to pluck out, to draw out, to rescue, to deliver”.  In 1522 Martin Luther referred to this in the preface of the first German language New Testament:

This gospel of God or New Testament is a great message, good news, sounded forth into all the world by the apostles, telling of a true David who strove with sin, death, and the devil, and overcame them, and thereby RESCUED all those who were captive in sin, afflicted with death, and overpowered by the devil. Without any merit of their own he made them righteous, gave them life, and saved them, so that they were given peace and brought back to God.” (Emphasis mine)

As we will see, the gospel is truly emancipation from bondage.  Our opening scripture says He came to rescue us from the ethical characteristics of the present age.

“Age” (aion) is defined as a “period of time” and is sometimes translated “world” in the NT.  Here it is defined by its moral characteristics. Trench says the following about it:

“All that floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, aspirations, at any time current in the world, which it may be impossible to seize and accurately define, but which constitute a most real and effective power, being the moral or immoral atmosphere which at every moment of our lives we inhale, again inevitably to exhale.”

Notice that it is called an “evil” age. The Greek word for this evil is poneros as opposed to kakos.  A kakos man is satisfied to perish in his own corruption but a poneros man “is not content unless he is corrupting others as well, and drawing them into the same destruction with himself.” (Wuest).  The English word best describing poneros is the word pernicious,   “causing great harm or damage often in a way that is not easily seen or noticed”.  A perfect description of Satan’ activity.  He is known as The Pernicious One. Let us praise God The Father for sending the Lord Jesus to destroy the works of Satan in our lives, setting us free from the dominion of darkness positionally and experientially (I John 3:8 & Col.1:13).

This ends Part I of God’s Rescue of Man.  Part 2 will discuss the pernicious influence of the age and the Lord Jesus’ command to “Have salt within yourselves…” .

Thank you for your time and God bless you and your family.

Carl

 

 

Is It Accidental?

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“A true and faithful Christian does not make holy living an accidental thing. It is his great concern. As the business of the soldier is to fight, so the business of the Christian is to be like Christ.

__Jonathan Edwards (October 5, 1703 – March 22, 1758, American revivalist preacher, identified with first Great Awakening in America, author of “Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God”)

From Berean Call (thebereancall.org)

 

Everyone Seems Normal

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I saw this sign in a BBQ restaurant several days ago. It reminded me that everyone in the Body of Christ, including myself, has sins, faults and shortcomings.  That is why the Apostle Peter tells us:

“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” (I Peter 4:8)

“Above all” could be translated “before all in order of importance” and speaks to the fact that love is the prerequisite to all exercises of Christian duty.   Somewhere in Scripture is a word picture that shows love as a coat that binds all the other pieces (spiritual gifts) of a wardrobe together and completes them.  What Peter is telling us then is very, very important.

The word “love” here is “agape”, God’s type of love that is produced in our hearts by the Holy Spirit at salvation.  Romans 5:5 says “…the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit…”.  It is a love that considers the object of it’s affection to be precious.

The reason for this exhortation to keep “fervent” or “stretched out” in love for one another is that love covers a multitude of sins. If we truly consider our fellow Christians precious to God and; therefore, precious to us, we will not talk about their failings/sins, but keep them to our self and cover them with our love; knowing we have our own sins to gain the victory over.

How much sinful gossip would be eliminated in the Church if we truly “agape” each other.

Walk in Love,

Carl

“…led by the Spirit of God…”

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“For as many as are being constantly led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”  (Romans 8:14)

I recently heard of a Christian brother in a local church, who during a discussion on the Holy Spirit, expressed his fear of the Spirit.  Due to erroneous teaching he had received over the years and things he had seen, he had become afraid of the One who indwells him as a believer; the very Helper Jesus sent to him when he believed.

The Apostle Paul told us in Romans that we are to be constantly led by the Spirit of God.  The word “led” is the Greek word “ago” and according to Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words it means “to bear, bring, carry, lead,” and is translated by the verb “to lead”.  An example would be the act of leading about an animal at the end of a rope.  Rick Renner in his Sparkling Gems From The Greek says this about “ago”:

“An animal’s owner would wrap a rope around its neck and then “tug” or “pull” until the animal started to follow him.

“Pay careful attention to the “tugging” and “pulling” of the Holy Spirit in your heart. He is a Gentleman and does not force you to obey Him. He prompts you, tugs on your heart, and pulls on your spirit to get your attention. Sometimes His “tugs” may be so gentle that you almost miss them. But if you’ll develop your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, He will gently “lead” you exactly where He wants you to go with your life.” (Emphasis mine)

Have you developed this sensitivity to the Helper?  If not, we pray that you will.

Our scripture goes on to say that those who are led by the Spirit, these are sons of God. In Galatians Paul says that while Israel was under the law of the Old Testament, they were considered “nepios”, an immature person who needed a guardian to look after them. The guardian was the law of the Old Testament.  But in Romans 8:14, Paul uses “huios” which signifies someone of full age; a mature person having outgrown the need for his former guardian.

In conclusion, we are living under God’s wonderful, unbelievable grace as born again children of God.  We have no need for the law because we have the Spirit of God living in us, vastly more powerful and effective than the law.  If you will, He is our guardian now. He is our source of godly desires and the power to do the will of God. He is grieved by our sins and wanderings. He is faithful to convict us of our sins and bring us to repentance. He will  never leave us or forsake us. Let us develop a sensitivity to his “tugs” and “pulling” so he can lead us in the way we should go. What wonderful provision God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ has made for those who trust in Jesus Christ.

Pay Close Attention To Yourself and The Holy Spirit

Carl

 

 

 

Knowing God

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Field and forest, vale and mountain,

Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,

Chanting bird and flowing fountain

Call us to rejoice in Thee.

—Genevan Psalter

All mankind has a desire to worship. History shows that man in every age and time, in every location on earth, has worshiped some form of a god.  Deep down inside each person is the desire to worship something. As created beings, we intuitively know that we should be worshiping something greater than ourselves.   The beautiful creation we live in reveals that we are not alone.

“Because that which is knowable concerning God is plainly evident in them, for God made it clear to them; for the things concerning Him which are invisible since the creation of the universe are clearly seen, being understood by means of the things that are made, namely, His eternal power and divine Being, resulting in their being without a defense.   (Wuest Expanded Translation Romans 1:19-20)

His creation testifies of His eternal power and His divine Being to all of mankind,  but it did not matter.  Man’s evil heart prevailed.  Romans 1 continues to say:

“Because, knowing God, not as God did they glorify Him, nor were they grateful, but they became futile in their reasonings, and their stupid heart was darkened. Asserting themselves to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for a likeness of an image of corruptible man and of birds and of quadrupeds and of snakes.” (Wuest Expanded Translation Romans 1: 21-23)

And if you continue to read in Romans, mankind’s situation continued to spiral downward until they called darkness, light.

Though man can know that there is a god by the creation, man can only truly know God The Father through a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Lord said:

“…no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”  (NASB John 14:6)

And after we come to Jesus in repentance and faith in His Gospel, Romans 5:1-2 says:

“….Lord Jesus Christ, though whom also we obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand…”

To help us understand this wonderful statement about what Christ has done for us, I want to share with you Wuest’s article on “entree” which could be perfectly substituted for “introduction” (“access” in KJV) in this verse:

“In Romans 5:2, Paul speaks of the fact that we have access through our Lord into the grace in which we stand. The word “access” is from a Greek word which refers to the act of one who secures for another an interview with a sovereign.

“In the first place, the person thus acting must be close to the king himself. Our Lord dwells in the bosom of the Father. He occupies the place closest to the Father’s affections. He is therefore fitted for His task.

“In the second place, the one for whom this entree has been gained, and the French word most happily gives the meaning of the Greek, must be rendered acceptable to the king. This our Lord did through the blood of His Cross whereby He put away the guilt and penalty of our sin and bestowed upon us a righteousness, even His own standing before the Throne, and thus we are “accepted in the Beloved.” As I Peter 2:7 says, “Unto you therefore that believe is the preciousness.” The preciousness of Jesus in the eyes of God the Father has been imputed to us, as His righteous standing has been imputed. God therefore looks upon us with all the favor with which He looks upon His own well-beloved Son.”

“Then again, the one presented at the High Court of Heaven must be correctly attired. Our Lord clothes us with His own beauty, for He is made unto us sanctification, Paul says. The Father sees us in His Son, not apart from Him.  And the glorious radiance of the One Altogether Lovely shines upon us.”

“Finally, when we have been brought by Him into the place where we have entree into the presence of God, we find that we are standing in His unlimited favor, in unlimited grace. No demand made upon that grace can exhaust it. For time and eternity we are the objects of the Father’s supreme affection, the recipients of His boundless mercies, the favored ones of His matchless grace. “

“Hallelujah! Praise the Lord “by whom we have our permanent entree by faith into this grace in which we stand.””
(Kenneth Wuest)

Not only can we know that there is a God through the witness of creation, but the Lord Jesus Christ, after salvation, brings us into this permanent grace and into the very Throne Room of Heaven where He makes it possible for us to be introduced, or have access, to our new Father.  As Paul said “…and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6)

Let the true worship begin! 

“Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in the time of need.”   (NASB Hebrews 4:16)

Carl

 

 

 

 

“…for the will of God.”

 

Apostle Peter tells us the reason God freed us from our indwelling sinful nature when we were born again in I Peter 4:2:

“….so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men but for the will of God.”

A translation that gives a fuller wording of the original Greek scripture says:

“…with a view to his not living the rest of his time while in his physical body in the sphere of the cravings of men, but in the sphere of the will of God.

In other words, from the point we are born  again until we leave this earth, God wants us to live in His will (obey Him) and not be conformed to our former lusts which were ours when we did not know Him.  So for us to be able to do this, He sent the Lord Jesus to die on the cross and to be resurrected. He also sent His Holy Spirit to us which imparts a divine nature in us and gives us the desire and power to be free from the indwelling sin nature which is still in us.

Today when we use the word “lust” we think of “immoral sexual desire” but in the original Greek letters of the NT, the word “lust” meant “any strong craving” or “passionate desire”.  It did not necessarily mean something evil but the content in which it was used determined whether it was evil or good.  In our scripture today it is used in a sinful sense.

As we know, these sinful, strong cravings and passionate desires can encompass a multitude of things in our life.  For example, James warns us if we have bitter jealously and selfish ambition (strife) in our heart, this wisdom is not from God but is earthly (vs heavenly), natural (vs spiritual), and demonic (James 3:14-18). In chapter 4,  he speaks of lust, murder (can be just hate in our heart), being envious, fighting, quarreling, prayers from a wrong motive, and being a friend of the world (i.e. an enemy of God).  Remember, our hearts are deceitfully wicked and we need the Lord to shine His light into the dark areas of our hearts to reveal what is there.  We have walked in some of these strong cravings or passionate desires so long we do not even recognize them for what they are, not pleasing to God.

Paul told Timothy, concerning becoming more Christ like, “Pay close attention to yourself…” (I Timothy 4:16).  Let us do the same and turn our hearts to forsake any of these strong cravings or passionate desires that cause us to disobey God and practice sin.  Agree with God and exercise your free will to say no to these desires and Jesus Christ will bring victory over these passionate desires in your life.  God has enough grace to deal with anything He reveals in your heart.

“Pay close attention to yourself….”

Carl

 

 

 

 

Moral Excellence

 

 

Apostles-all-have-beardsNow for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, …”   (II Peter 1: 5)

Virtue or moral excellence is the manifestation of the “energy” of the Holy Spirit working in us, in response to our faith in Jesus Christ. Our response to this “energy” is to have “energy” in the outliving of our faith which will manifest itself as “change” in our behavior, resulting in increased moral excellence.

Now stop and read the first paragraph again before going on. Do you see this in your life?

Change” takes “energy” or power.  From whence does it come? Listen to what is on record and is just as true today as when it left Peter’s writing instrument 2000 years ago.  “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge  of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these, He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”  (II Peter 1: 3-4) He has given us “everything” we need for life and godliness through the true knowledge of God, which is found in scripture, and precious magnificent promises that are found in scripture also. Why did He do this? So His born again children could be partakers of His divine nature, which has been implanted in them,  escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust or passionate cravings.

“Change” always takes “energy” or power.  Our precious Lord Jesus told the disciples before His death,  “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:8)  He sent His Spirit to come along side of us and to help us successfully live the victorious Christian life.  He, the Holy Spirit of God, is constantly releasing His energy so we will desire the sweet will of God and, then as we say “yes” and move our will to obey, He releases His power to make the change a reality.

Peter begins this exhortation of II Peter, by asking that sanctifying grace and sanctifying  peace be multiplied in the sphere of and by the full knowledge of our God, even Jesus, the Lord.  Listen to Wuest’s explanation of this knowledge:

“The particular word for knowledge here, epignosis, speaks of experiential knowledge, that is knowledge gained by experience. This knowledge of Jesus Christ possessed by the believer therefore, is not a mere intellectual knowledge of the facts concerning Him acquired by a study of the Gospels, for instance, but a heart experience of what and who He is, gained by such a study, including a personal association with Him, by means of the Word and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is a person with Person knowledge through intimate fellowship.”

He has not left us as orphans.  He is wanting to fellowship with us. Reflect on that for a moment. Out of this fellowship will flow two things: 1. sanctifying grace, the work of the Holy Spirit in the yielded believer producing Jesus’ personality traits.  2. Also out of this fellowship will flow sanctifying  peace, the tranquility of heart which is the result of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in our life.

May His “energy” be evident in your life.  May you be increasing in all the fruit of the Spirit as you fellowship with your Lord and Savior Jesus.

Carl

 

The Refiner’s Fire (Part 3)

smelter

Note: This, the last in three posts concerning The Refiner’s Fire. If you missed the first two posts, please scroll down to the end of this post, to read first two.  Thank you.

“And He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.” 

In the last post we showed that each born again believer is a priest to God, The Father through Jesus Christ (I Peter 2:5) and that the “sons of Levi” are actually a type of us and that we, as believer-priests, now offer sacrifices on the altar of our dedicated, consecrated heart.

Since every believer is a priest to God The Father through Jesus Christ, this purifying and refining process applies to you and me. The Lord Jesus is going to purify and refine us so that we offer to God unblemished sacrifices which is our reasonable service, since we are recipients of His many mercies.

Just as the smelter would scoop the impurities off the hot liquid, looking for a clear reflection of his face in the purified gold or sliver,  so the Savior is looking for the reflection of His face in our hearts, the real you and me. A reflection of Him in the “hidden man”. The characteristics of His Personality.

Another scripture states this a little differently. Speaking of the Lord Jesus it says:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.”  (Ephesians 5: 25-27)

Instead of the using the metaphor of a smelter, the Holy Spirit speaking through Paul states that Jesus is going to sanctify or set apart the believers from the world, to Himself, by washing them with the Word.  In other words, as the believer obeys the commandments of God, they will purify their souls (mind, will and emotions) becoming holy (more Christ like) and blameless (practicing righteousness).  Peter said in I Peter 1:22 “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls…”. 



In respect to this purifying and refining, this is why in James 1:2 it says “Consider it all joy,…when you encounter various trials…” because they are refining and purifying events, with the goal of making us more like Jesus and providing proof of our faith. Satan may mean to use the trial for our destruction but, by us remaining faithful during the trial, Jesus will redeem it for our good.   James 1:3 explains the good: “…knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  

The end result of various trials is to make us perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  “…perfect” means mature.  Ephesians 4:13 says, the goal of the operation of the Holy Spirit gifts within the church is: “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”  Trials, whether disciplinarian (Hebrew 12: 5-11) or adversarial (I Peter 1:6), mature us into more Christ likeness by stopping us from practicing sin and replacing it with the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Ignatius [Bishop of Antioch, martyr; first century believer] said it this way:

“None of these escape your notice, if you are maturing in faith and love towards Jesus Christ. For these are the beginning and end of life: faith is the beginning and love is the end, and the two, when they exist in unity, are Godlike. Everything else that contributes to moral beauty follow from them.”

The “…complete, lacking in nothing”, does not refer to worldly things like money, cars, food, shelter, etc. but refers to not lacking in the characteristics of Jesus’ personality in our lives.  The Apostle John refers to this as being perfected in love. Some of these characteristics are listed in Galatians 5:22:  “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”.  The fruit of God the Holy Spirit.  Three more can be added from II Peter 1: “moral excellence”, “knowledge“, and “perseverance”.  “…humility of mind…” would be another. This is what the Father desires for His children.  Christ likeness.  To be more like His Son.

Colossians 3:1-2 tells us

“If you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above where Christ is…” “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”

What are these “things” we are to keep seeking for? A mansion in Heaven? A cloud to sit on? A throne like James and John sought for? No! I am not certain what all “things” entails, but I know they include Jesus’ personality traits because our life is hidden in Him.  He is our life.
Therefore, the Lord Jesus is the smelter and the washer in our born again lives, with the end result being, we can offer spiritual sacrifices to God the Father through Him that are unblemished and righteous. This is only possible because we are alive from the dead and He loves us enough to purify and cleanse us so we can “share in His holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). This is the sanctification process in our lives.  Psalms 149: 4 says:

“For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.” 

In closing let me say this about trials.  There are disciplinary trials that come from our heavenly Father who disciplines each child for their good so they can share in His holiness (Hebrew 12:4-11). There are adversarial trials which come from the world and Satan.  The world hates Christians. The world is controlled by Satan; therefore, we should expect adversarial trials to come.  Jesus said they would come.  As a born again child of God, we are pilgrims in the earth heading toward our new, heavenly home. (See Hebrews 13) We need to “gird our minds for action and keep sober in spirit..” as Peter said and expect trials.  It helps me to know that Jesus is my smelter and washer and that whatever comes my way He is using it for my ultimate good.

Remember, our brother and sisters in other countries whose trials include imprisonment and even death.

So let us rejoice NOW and ALWAYS in our Great Savior and God, Jesus Christ, and thank Him for His watch care over us. Because of this refining and purifying, the Word says that we will be so joyful one day that, “you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall” (Malachi 4:2).

Thank you for your time.

Let us be paying close attention to ourselves,
Carl

The Refiner’s Fire (Part 2)

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“And He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.”

The question to answer today is: Who are the “sons of Levi” that the Lord is going to refine and purify in Malachi.
When the Lord Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world, God, The Father, abrogated (formally ended) the temple sacrifices.  He did not accept or require them anymore. Jesus’ death on the cross settled the sin question once and for all.  God evidently also did away with the Levital priesthood and established another priesthood with the Lord Jesus as the High Priest (Hebrew 4:14).  I Peter 2:5  says “you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”.  All born again believers are members of a “holy priesthood”, not a defiled priesthood as in Malachi, and are believer-priests to God through Jesus Christ.  The spiritual house is the mystical Body of Christ that includes all born again believers on earth.
Therefore, I am of the opinion that we born again believers are the “sons of Levi” referred to in Malachi 3:3 since the refining and purifying takes place after the Lord comes to His temple suddenly and in 70 AD the Roman general Titus destroyed the temple including the sacrificial altar.
The purpose of this new priesthood is to “offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”  Just as the Old Testament priests walked up the incline to the brazen altar and laid the animal sacrifice on the altar to be consumed by fire,  we New Testament believer-priests “offer up” our spiritual sacrifices upon the altar of our consecrated, dedicated heart.  The spiritual sacrifices are the activities of the human spirit energized by the Holy Spirit.
The Apostle Paul throws light on this truth in Romans 12:1 when he says  “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”  How do you make your human body a living and holy sacrifice?  Listen to what our brother Chrysostom (Archbishop of Constantinople – 349-407 AD) wrote:
“How can the body become a sacrifice? Let the eye look on no evil, and it is a sacrifice. Let the tongue utter nothing base, and it is an offering. Let the hand work no sin, and it is a holocaust.” (Holocaust is a sacrifice totally consumed by fire.) “But more, this suffices not, but besides we must actively exert ourselves for good; the hand gives alms, the mouth blessing them that curse us, the ear ever at leisure for listening to God.”

Another example of spiritual sacrifices is given in The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken. He tells the true story of Russian pastor Dmitri who was imprisoned by the government for teaching  the Bible. For seventeen years he would rise every morning and offer a sacrifice of praise by singing his “HeartSong” to Jesus as the other inmates cursed and jeered at him. The next discipline that helped him to survive the isolation from the Body of Christ and torture was that whenever he found a scrap of paper, later in his cell with a stub of a pencil or a piece of charcoal he had saved, as tiny as possible, he would write every Bible verse,  scriptural story and song he could remember.  When finished he would put it on a damp pillar in his cell as a “praise offering to God”.  Of course, when discovered by the authorities, they would read it and beat him severely and threaten him with death.

In conclusion, I am of the opinion that the “sons of Levi” are us, the believer-priest. Secondly, we have looked at three examples of how we can offer sacrifices. One by obeying the commandments of God, another by doing good words (Ephesians 2:10) and another by praising or giving thanks to God (Hebrews 13: 15-16). The Body of Christ is now the holy priesthood. The actual “sons of Levi” as a functioning priest class,  do not exists anymore.  They had to be born again just like you and I (Acts 6: 7).  The believer-priest now  offer up spiritual sacrifices  on the altar of their dedicated heart.  May we today offer up spiritual sacrifices pleasing to God.  We can make the Creator of the universe smile.

The next post will discuss this refining process and the purpose of it.  Hope to see you then. Thank you for your time.

Lets Pay Close Attention To Ourselves For The Purpose of Holiness (I Timothy 4:16)

Carl

P.S. Pastor Dmitri was eventually released but not before the  prison population was singing his HeartSong in the morning with him. His witness had prevailed!

“…Fragrance of Christ…”

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life.” (II Corinthians 2: 14-16)

Our last post was about bringing our salvation to its ultimate conclusion which is for us to become more Christ like in our earthly life.  And how this Christ likeness needs to affect our family, friends, and others. 

 The verse says a born again person is the fragrance of Christ among both the people “who are perishing” (a lost person)  and “those who are being saved” (born again person).  This “sweet aroma” is sensed by both classes as we interact with them in our daily lives. Those who are perishing are described by the Holy Spirit as ‘dead” in the sense of “dead in your trespasses and sins”. Their human spirit is dead and that is one reason they need to be born again.  Ephesians 2:1-3 describes people in this state and includes us prior to coming to Christ. 

Following is a note my wife had written in the page border to accompany this scripture.  May it bless and encourage you:

“I am not just the bearer of the aroma or incense but I am the incense myself. I am the means by which the effect is registered on both classes if the knowledge of Christ is going forth thru my life. I must move amongst men , in Christ (walking in the experiential knowledge of the truth) having learned the truth of the knowledge of Him thru various trials, tests, fires and experiences and thereby becoming a living expression of it.  A ministration of Christ comes as a result.”

May you leave the aroma of Christ where ever you go today and every day.  May God’s children be encouraged by interacting with you and may those that are perishing see something that is missing in their lives.

Carl

“…Constantly…”

“Wherefore, my beloved ones, as you always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, carry to its ultimate conclusion [likeness to the Lord Jesus] your own salvation with a wholesome, serious caution and trembling, for God is the One who is constantly putting forth His energy in you, both in the form of your being desirous of and of your doing His good pleasure.”  (Paul writing to the Philippians in 2:13)

Amazing! Today. All day today.  Everyday. God is CONSTANTLY releasing  His energy into our lives — in our decisions, in our battles, in our relationships, in our work, in our ministry, in our idle time, in our busy time, in our trial, in our victory, in our suffering, in our joy, in our sickness, in our vigor, in everything — for the purpose of bringing OUR salvation to it’s ultimate conclusion:  more likeness to the Lord Jesus….NOW, not when we get to heaven, NOW, while we live on earth, NOW, while we can still make an eternal difference in our family, our friend’s lives, and lives of others. NOW, before I die and I am ashamed to stand before Him at the Judgement Seat of Christ. 

What an awesome God we serve. What provisions He has made for His children. How He is committed to His Purpose for you and me!

Enjoy walking with God today!

“Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, ….” (II Peter 2:14)

Carl

Real Evidence That You Love Lord Jesus

“…, that one is he who is loving me…”

Note: this post was accidentally published Wednesday morning around 5 a.m. and then promptly removed. I apologize if you have already read this or had problems with the link.

If you ask people if they love Jesus and what is the evidence of their love, you would get a variety of answers.  Some would say that they go to church frequently or are church members.  Others would say that they love their fellow man and do no harm to others; maybe some would say they fast certain things during the year or that they pray.  Some would say they go on pilgrimages to holy sites, give of their money or keep their denominational traditions.

In the Gospel of John, the Lord Jesus told us how He determines if we really love Him or we are just honoring Him with our words, but our hearts (who we really are) are far from Him.  Listen to what He said in John 14: 21 (Wuest Expanded Translation):

“He who has my commandments and habitually keeps them, that one is he who is loving me with a divine and self-sacrificial love.”

On this blog we have quoted the Apostle John in I John numerous times writing about habitually practicing righteousness.  John was at the last supper when Jesus said this. That is where he received this truth.

Lord Jesus goes on to describe what happens when we habitually keep His commandments:

“And he who is loving me thus, shall be loved with this same kind of love by my Father, and I shall love him with a divine and self-sacrifical love, and I shall disclose myself to him.” (22)

God the Father poured out this kind of love on the world (John 3:16) when He sent His Son to the cross to bear the guilt and penalty of our sins.  And He continues to do so when we are obedient to the gospel and are born again.

But there is more. His disciples thought that Jesus was about to “disclose” Himself as the conquering Messiah to the nation of Israel.  The mother of James and John had already approached Jesus about her two sons being seated in places of honor in His messianic court. So one of the disciples asked Him why He was going to disclose Himself to them and not the whole world. Here is His reply:

“Answered Jesus and said to him, If anyone as a habit of life loves me with a divine and self-sacrificial love, my word he will keep, and my Father will love him, and to him we shall come, and an abiding place with him we shall make for ourselves. He who is not habitually loving me with a divine and self-sacrificial love, my words he is not keeping.  And the word which you are hearing is not mine but belongs to Him who sent me, the Father.” (23-24)

Now this is very amazing! The God of the universe is going to come and abide in us. How does this happen?

“This things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. And the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my Name, that One will teach you all things and recall to your mind all things which I spoke to you.” (25-26)

In Acts 2: 38 the people cried out , “What shall we do”, after hearing the first gospel message.  Peter told the Passover crowd to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  These people were obedient to the gospel message and the Holy Spirit set them apart (i.e. sanctified them) to the Lord Jesus and they were sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption (Ephesians 1).  In other words, the Lord Jesus and The Father came and made their abode with these converts through the Holy Spirit.  And God does the same for us when we are obedient to the gospel message.

This is what the Apostle John is telling us in I John 1: 3-4 when he writes:

“…what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. (NASB)

Amazing! We born again believers in Jesus Christ have the privilege of fellowshipping  with God Almighty today and everyday.   John goes on to tell us how our behavior affects this fellowship.  I John 1: 5-10 says the following:

“And it is the message which we have heard from Him and at present is ringing in our ears and we are bringing back tidings to you, that God as to His nature is light, and darkness in Him does not exist, not even one particle. If we say that things in common we are having with Him, and thus fellowship, and in the sphere of the aforementioned darkness are habitually ordering our behavior, we are lying, and we are not doing the truth.  But if within the sphere of the light we are habitually ordering our behavior as Himself is in the light, things in common  and thus fellowship we [the believer and God] are having with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son keeps continually cleansing us from every sin.”

“If we say that [indwelling ] sin we are not having, ourselves we are leading astray [nobody else], and the truth is not in us. If we continue to confess our sins, faithful is He and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from every unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned and are now in a state where we do not sin, a liar we are making Him, and His word is not in us.”  (Wuest Expanded Translation)

The reason John is telling us this he states next in I John 2: 1:

“My little children … these things I am writing to you in order that you may not commit an act of sin.  And if anyone commits an act of sin, One who pleads our cause we constantly have facing the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One. ” (Wuest Expanded Translation)

In closing, two things.

First, is there enough evidence in my life to convict me of really being in love with Jesus, per His definition, or am I a hypocrite like the people in Mark 7:6 to which the Lord said:

“And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.

In Luke 6:46 Jesus asked the question “And why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?

Secondly, the Apostle John is telling the born again believer that our indwelling sinful nature, though we are dead to it, has not been eradicated from our being.  Therefore, we will occasionally sin and, when we do, we need to confess that sin to maintain fellowship with our Father. (Notice I said fellowship and not relationship. Because of our faith in the work of Christ on the Cross, our relationship is secure with the Father.)

He not only immediately forgives us

but the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness, i.e. habitual sins of ignorance that we are walking in but are not aware of yet.  What a merciful God!!!

My friends, it all boils down to a simple question for everyone: Is Christ Lord of your life?

I hope you enjoy the fellowship with your heavenly Father and His Holy Son today.  Walk in the light as He is in the light.

Carl

 

Part I : “Pay Close Attention To Yourself…”

Apostle Paul’s advice to Timothy concerning the born again person conforming to godliness.

In his first letter to Timothy, Paul tells him “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing…” (I Timothy 6:3) [Emphasis mine]

The Apostle Peter writing to believers stated the “doctrine conforming to godliness” as follows:

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the formers lusts, which were yours in your ignorance but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY FOR I AM HOLY.” And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” (I Peter 1: 14-19)

In other words, after a person is born again, if he is properly instructed in the truth, they, with the help of the Holy Spirit, will begin to purify their souls of defilement (sin):

“And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (I John 3:3)

Over a period of time they will become more and more Christlike in their manner of living or conduct.

This process is known as progressive sanctification. Sanctification is the separation of the believer from evil things and ways. The Greek word from which sanctification comes from means “to make holy”. This sanctification is God’s will for the believer and His purpose in calling him by the gospel. It must be learned from God as He teaches it by His Word and it must be pursued by the believer, earnestly and undeviatingly, cooperating with the Holy Spirit who gives the desire and the power to accomplish it. The following scriptures witness to these truths:

I Thessalonians 4:3 says “This is the will of God, your sanctification…”

I Thessalonians 4:7 says “For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.

I Thessalonians 4:4 says “…that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor”

The Lord Jesus said in John 17:17 as He prayed for His followers “Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth.”

Philippians 2:13 says “…for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

Some who claim to be born again take the teaching on the grace of God too far. They believe that willful sinning is okay after salvation because “it is all under grace”. That they can live in fornication, impurity, immorality or other habitual sin and still be in fellowship with the Holy Lord Jesus and the Holy Father God is in direct opposite to what the Word of God teaches. Concerning these believers, it is truly as Paul told Timothy in the opening verse, “….he is conceited and understands nothing;…”. The Apostle John warns the recipients of his letter known as II John to “Watch yourselves that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God;…” (II John 1:8-9)

Our brother, the Apostle Paul, told Timothy to “Pay close attention to yourself” (I Timothy 4:16a) and “….discipline (i.e. train) yourself for the purpose of godliness;…” (I Timothy 4:7b).

Concerning godliness and after exhorting Timothy to “discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness…” Apostle Paul said “For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.” (I Timothy 4:10) The man who the Lord Jesus used to write a large portion of the New Testament and He sent to preach the gospel to the Gentiles (that is you and me) was daily laboring and striving to be godly in his conduct. He knew the struggle and the temptations that come our way and learned how to overcome them with the Holy Spirit’s help.

Paul advised Timothy to “Pay close attention to yourself…”. We would be wise to heed his advice to Timothy. Apostle Peter exhorts us:

“Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (I Peter1:13)

Let us keep sober in mind and spirit and not be drunk on the spirit of this world (Satan’s kingdom) where anything goes, no boundaries; as long as it makes me look good, meets my emotional needs, it is okay. Where, in a deceived state, I can act like a god (make my own rules) and walk in pride and arrogance toward God and His Word; be wise in my own eyes. Grieving the Holy Spirit by whom we were sealed for the day of redemption.

Instead, let us examine ourselves and see if there is any wicked way in us when compared with God’s Word and the Lord Jesus’ life. Not in a condemning way. “There istherefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. (Romans 8:1) If we find ourselves in sin or with unconfessed sin, let us repent (i.e. agree with what God says about it and turn from it) and purpose not to do it again. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us. (I John 1:9-10)

Paul’s experience birthed this advice: “Pay close attention to yourself…”
My thoughts.
My words.
My actions .
What I am listening to.
What I am watching.
What I am entertained by.
What I am laughing at (a type of approval).
The motives behind my actions.
Is there any malice, wrath, anger?
Am I speaking truth or a lie?
Am I slandering someone?
Am I acting as a judge?
Am I walking in Pride? (Pride always sees the faults in others)
Am I being jealous?
Am I a manslayer? (“Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer…” I John 3:15)

And we could go on and on with this list. Each of us has areas we need to bring into submission to the Word of God. And as we study God’s word, He will reveal sin we are not even aware of.

In closing, three reasons as to why Paul’s admonishment to “Pay close attention toyourself…” is needed:

This concludes Part I of this post.  Please return for Part II in the next post.  Thank you!

The Big Difference

How does keeping of the Old Testament Law and walking in New Testament grace compare?

Do this and live, the Old Testament Law demands, but gives neither feet or hands.

A better word the Gospel brings. It bids me fly and gives me wings.

Author Unknown

Born again believers get their “wings” by understanding the truths found in Paul’s letter to the Romans in chapter six through eight.  Listen to what Apostle Peter said about these truths in II Peter 1: 3-4 (Wuest Expanded Translation):

“Seeing that all things to us His divine power has generously given, the things which pertain to life and godliness, through the experiential knowledge [which the believer has] of the One who called us [into salvation] by means of His own glory and virtue, by means of which [glory and virtue] there have been generously given to us the precious and exceedingly great promises in order that through these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped by flight the corruption which is in the world in the sphere of passionate carvings.”  [emphasis mine]

I hope you have your “wings” mentally on today.  Have a blessed day walking in the Spirit!

Carl