Need A Little Motivation In Your Christian Walk?

“But my heart stands in awe of Thy words. I rejoice at Thy word, as one who finds great spoil.” (Psalm 119: 161b-162)

We all need motivation sometimes. One of my son-in-laws and I have recently been discussing scripture memorization. Something I used to do a lot of but over the years had gotten away from.

I recently found the above scripture while studying I John 2:14 and thought it was the perfect motivation to restart scripture memorization.  If the psalmist could say this of the Old Testament, how should we, born again believers, feel about the New Testament’s

“…precious and exceedingly great promises…” that are given us “…in order that through these you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped by flight the corruption which is in the world in the sphere of passionate carvings.” (II Peter 1: 4 Wuest)

If need be, may these scriptures motivate you like it did me  to restart hiding the Word of Life in your heart. It is eternal and unchanging because He is eternal and unchanging. And you and I as born again believers are eternal! Think on that today.

Have a blessed day.

Carl

The Grace of God

“Where sin increased, grace superabounded, and then some on top of that.” (Romans 5:20b Wuest)

Today we want to look at the Greek word charis translated grace in our Bibles. This is one of the most important words in the New Testament.

Since the New Testament was written in the common Greek language of the first century AD, we will first look at the Greek meaning.

In the ethical terminology of the Greek schools, charis or grace implied a favor freely done, without claim or expectation of return.

“Aristotle [ancient Greek philosopher] lays the whole stress of the word on this very point, that it is conferred freely, with no expectation of return, and finding its only motive in the bounty and free-heartedness of the givers” (Trench).

In the New Testament the Holy Spirit took the meaning infinitely further. I quote Kenneth Wuest on the use of the word:

“But how this purely classical meaning of the word describes what took place at Calvary. All the human race could expect in view of its sin, was the righteous wrath of a holy God, that and eternal banishment from His glorious presence. But instead, the holy God stepped down from His judgment seat and took upon Himself at Calvary’s Cross, the guilt and penalty of human sin, thus satisfying His justice and making possible the bestowal of His mercy. And this He did, not for those who were His friends, but His bitter enemies, unlovely creatures saturated with sin. Charis in classical Greek referred to a favor conferred freely, with no expectation of return, and finding its only motive in the bounty and free-heartedness of the giver. This favor was always done to a friend, never to an enemy. RIGHT HERE CHARIS LEAPS FORWARD AN INFINITE DISTANCE, FOR THE LORD JESUS DIED FOR HIS ENEMIES (Romans 5: 8-10), A THING UNHEARD OF IN THE HUMAN RACE. Surely this was beyond the ordinary course of what might be expected and is therefore commendable. This is what John is speaking of in his first epistle (3.1) when he says, “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God.” The words “what manner of” are from a Greek word which means “what foreign kind of.” That is, the love shown by God at the Cross is foreign to the human race. Man simply does not act that way (Rom. 5:7,8,10). That is why God’s action on the Cross in dying for lost humanity is an action beyond the ordinary course of what might be expected and is therefore commendable. HERE IS ONE OF THE STRONGEST PROOFS OF THE DIVINE SOURCE OF THE BIBLE. The substitutionary atonement never came from the philosophies of man but from the heart of God.”

“Thus, the word charis comes to its highest and most exalted content of meaning in the New Testament. It refers to God’s offer of salvation with all that implies, which salvation was procured at Calvary’s Cross with all the personal sacrifice which that included, offered to one who is His bitter enemy, and who is not only underserving of that salvation but deserves condign [appropriate] punishment for his sins, offered without any expectation of return, but given out of the bounty and free heartedness of the giver. This means that there is no room for good works on the part of the sinner as a means whereby he could earn his salvation, or after salvation, whereby he might retain that salvation. Paul sets grace over against works as things directly in opposition to one another as fas as the means of salvation is concerned (Rom 4:4, 5, 11:6). But Paul is very careful to make plain that good works naturally issue from and are required by grace (Titus 2:11-12). (Ephesians – Kenneth Wuest emphasis mine)

I hope you are blessed by this explanation. I’m still marveling at what God has done for us, totally undeserving humans. God bless you and thank you for your time,

Father God, we praise you for your underserved mercy and grace!!!! Amen.

Carl

King David And Blamelessness

“Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.

Also keep back your servant from presumptuous sins;

Let them not rule over me;

THEN I shall be blameless;

And I shall be acquitted of great transgression.”

King David. Psalm 19:12-13 (Emphasis mine)

Here King David speaks about hidden faults, presumptuous sins and their relationship to being blameless.

In our last post we mentioned KNOWN and UNKNOWN sins (hidden faults) in our lives. We are responsible to purify ourselves from our known sins. We are responsible for the light we have. The Holy Spirit will reveal the hidden faults or sins in our lives as we grow in our Christian experience and, then, we can repent.

The apostle John referred to these two types of sins when he wrote:

“If we continue to confess our sins, faithful is He and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from every unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9 Wuest)

John is referring to known sins when he writes “to confess our sins” and to unknown sins when he says “every unrighteousness”. The precious blood of Jesus cleanses our hidden faults or sins also when we confess our known sins. Praise His Name.

In our scripture King David is asking the Lord to “keep back your servant from presumptuous sins”. The Hebrew word zed means presumptuous,insolent and is translated in OT scripture arrogant, proud, arrogant men, presumptuous. The root word means to boil up, seethe, act proudly or presumptuously or rebelliously.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines presumptuous as follows:

1. (Of a person or their behavior) failing to observe the limits of what is permitted or appropriate.

2. Overstepping due bounds; taking liberties

3. Comes from a Latin word that means “to take for granted”.

4. Synonyms: brazen, overconfident, arrogant, bold, forward, familiar, insolent, cocky.

Therefore, a presumptuous sin is one committed with our eyes wide open. We know it is a sin against God but, due to the rebellion in our proud heart, we do it anyway.

Why do we do this? The answer lies within each one of us but we will discuss some reasons.

1. In James 1, James gives us the mechanics of falling into sin: first we are carried away from our steadfastness in Christ and then are enticed by our own passionate cravings for the temptation, thirdly our passionate cravings (lusts) are conceived by our saying YES to the enticement, fourthly we act on our lust and sin is given birth, then death is manifested in our life. Death to walking in fellowship with Christ until we repent and death to spiritual growth in our life until we repent.

2. Or maybe the sin now “rules over us”. We are it’s slave until our cries for deliverance and repentance to the Lord are heard and He frees us.

3.We take His forgiveness of sin for granted. Remember that presumptuous comes from a Latin word that means “to take for granted”.

When John wrote I John 1:9:

“If we continue to confess our sins, faithful is He and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from every unrighteousness.”

he followed it with this:

“My little children, these things I am writing to you in order that you may not commit an act of sin.” (I John 2:1 Wuest)

It is my understanding that John was saying, ” I did not write I John 1:9 to give you a license to sin with assurance of forgiveness, but my purpose was so that you would not commit an act of sin.” The goal is not to sin! In Romans chapters 6 Paul is explaining why true believers can not continue in sin. The whole chapter is built around addressing two questions (verses 1 and 15) he received from people who heard of God’s amazing grace (forgiveness of sin). One was, “shall we habitually sustain an attitude of dependence upon, yieldedness to, and cordiality with the sinful nature in order that grace may abound?” And the other was : “Shall we sin occasionally, because we are not under law but under grace?” To both questions, Paul answers “God forbid” or “May it never be!” Then Paul goes on to explain why it is impossible for a born again believer to maintain the same relationship with his sinful nature that he had prior to salvation. The goal is to be holy and blameless before Him, not to justify our wrong behavior by saying “that is how I have always been” or God doesn’t care.

4. We have received a teaching that perverts the grace of God. The teaching may say something like “It’s all under grace so it does not matter what I do, but only what I believe”. We are preparing a teaching on the book of Jude and will discuss this then. You will not want to miss it.

We could spend days discussing why we as believers commit presumptuous sins but each one of us has to examine ourselves and commit, with the Holy Spirit’s help, to overcome these sins. The Lord will come up along side us to help.

I hope you see the need to take sin seriously in your life and to purpose to be found holy and blameless before Him NOW and at His Coming. As Paul told Timothy, “Pay close attention to yourself”. Thank you for your time and may God richly bless you and yours.

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24-25)

Carl

“Found Holy and Blameless” Part 5

(Parts one thru four can be found at the bottom of this post.)

“…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.” (Ephesians 1:4)

In the past four installments on this subject, we have looked at what “before Him”means, how the Holy Spirit desires all of us, and what the word “holy” means in this context.  This post will look at the word “blameless”.

It is important to remember that we are NOT discussing salvation by works. Justification from sins is not in view here, but rather, the progressive sanctification process which develops Christ’s character in us AFTER being born again.

In Ephesians 1:4 the word “blameless” is the Greek word amoroso which means “without blemish” (Vines) or also “free from faultiness, as a sacrificial animal without spot or blemish (Lev 22:21) or as the Lamb of God (I Peter 1:19) (Wuest). In the Greek Old Testament (Septuagint), it is used in reference to “of blamelessness in character and conduct” (Vines).

This word appears in the following scriptures:

  • Eph. 5:27 – Paul was speaking of the type of people that will be Jesus’ bride when he wrote: “He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.”  Here the term “having no spot or wrinkle” refers to “the bride without moral blemish” (Wuest). These people are not practicing sin, which includes immorality; therefore, they are blameless or without blemish. The Bride is holy” because the people have separated themselves from what God considers evil.  These two descriptive terms explain why the bride is “in all her glory”.
      • Colossians 1: 22 – “…yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshy body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach —” Through salvation Jesus has reconciled us to God so that He can present you and me as holy, separate from evil, and free from the defilement of the world, without moral blemish and beyond reproach, i.e. “not only without blemish but from the charge of it” (Wuest). We are to be conformed to the image of His Beloved Son.
        • Jude 24 – in closing his letter concerning false teachers, he writes: “Now to Him who is able to keep us from stumbling and to make us stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy…”.  If we will cooperate with the indwelling Holy Spirit in the sancifying process, God the Father is able to make us stand in the presence of His glory “without blemish, free from fault “with great joy”. This cooperation should be our spiritual response to the exalted position God has placed us in, in-Christ.
          • I Thessalonians 3: 12-13 – “…and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all men, just as we also do for you; so that He may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father….” The word “unblamable” is another Greek adjective also translated “faultless”.  Notice that living your life in love “for one another, and for all men,” is what causes your heart to be established in holiness. All the commandments of God are fulfilled by loving the Lord Thy God with your total being and your neighbor as your self (Mark 12:28 – 34). This is the key to understanding what God wishes to do in the saint through the sanctification process.  More on this later.

          In conclusion, we are to be found holy and blameless before His Holy Spirit NOW on Earth and at His future coming for His bride, the Church. Properly instructed born again believers are serious about getting the KNOWN sin out of their lives so we are pleasing the Lord. There are sins we are NOT AWARE OF in our lives, but the Holy Spirit will convict us of them as we grow in our Christian experience and then we should forsake them, purifying ourselves. See I John 3:3.

          II Peter 2:13 speaks of false teachers in the church who are “stains and blemishes”.  Here the word for “blemish” is monos and signifies a shame, a moral disgrace, used metaphorically of the licentious” (Vines), those lacking moral restraint especially disregarding sexual restraints (Webster). The false teachers’ character was blemished because of practicing sin which included an immoral lifestyle. We see the same false teachers in the book of Jude. They are among us today. How many Christ confessing people do you know today, who are living an immoral lifestyle?

          The Church has been fed a lie that the grace of God allows us to practice sin. Next post we will see what King David had to say about sin and how it relates to being found blameless.

          Let us pray: Father God, we ask that you cause your love to increase in us for all Christians and for all mankind, so that we may conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Lord Jesus, pleasing You in all respects. In His Name. Amen.

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

          Carl

          In Honor of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

          It has been 500 years since the German priest Luther nailed his 95 theses or propositions on the Castle Church door (above) at Wittenberg, Germany. Little did he realize then the far reaching impact of what he had done. The Reformation was born and Christianity and all of Western civilization was changed. The other night we watched online as one of our daughters participated in a very large Reformation anniversary celebration in one of the European capital cities. It was a glorious event. They even sang my grandmothers favorite hymn in their mother tongue. It was quite moving.

          To celebrate this august occasion, I offer this quote from Church History in Plain Language by Bruce L. Shelley:

          “Luther’s greatest contribution to history, however, was not political. It was religious. He took four basic Catholic concerns and offered invigorating new answers. To the question how is a person saved, Luther replied: not by works but by faith alone. To the question where does religious authority lie, he answered: not in the visible institution called the Roman church but in the Word of God found in the Bible. To the question – what is the church? —- he responded: the whole community of Christian believers, since all are priest before God. To the question — what is the essence of Christian living? —- he replied: serving God in any useful calling, whether ordained or lay. To this day any classical description of Protestantism must echo those central truths.”

          And you know what? The Bible today still says the same things. Thank you Lord Jesus for the Bibles we have. It is really a miracle. Let us remember the men, such as John Wyclif and William Tyndall, who translated the Greek NT manuscripts into our mother tongue, so we, the common man, could understand what God had said.

          Thank you for your time. God Bless you.

          Carl

          Doctrines To Deceive You

          dec

          “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” (I Timothy 4:1)

          In this verse Paul is warning Timothy and us that in the last days, many would fall away paying attention to deceitful or seducing evil spirits and doctrines of demons. In verse 2, Paul tells us that the source of false doctrine is the demons, satan’s servants, who actuate the false teachers in society and in the church.  In 2 Corinthians 11 he warns us about another Jesus, another spirit instead of the Holy Spirit and another gospel. This why we are told to examine everything in light of the word of God (Bible) and hold to that which is true.  Today, as it was in Paul’s day, there is much deception leading people to eternal destruction.

          Here are some doctrines of demons that characterize the days we live in. Thank you to The Kingdom of the Occult (Walter Martin) for points 1-5.

          1. Jesus is a way to salvation but not the way.

          All roads, or all religions, lead to God. We hear this lie frequently.  Sometimes from leaders of world-wide religions, Hollywood personalities, wolves in sheep clothing, and others, but there is only one way to God.   Jesus said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me. 

          2. Deny that Jesus Christ is truly God in human flesh.

          The Apostle John told us how to judge the spirits. “By this you know the Spirit of God, every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that is coming, and now it is already in the world.  (I John 4: 2-3)

          3. A person can obtain information from sources other than God and that this secret knowledge is reliable.

          This is why God drove out the Canaanite nations before Israel, in the Old Testament.  He gave His people strict instructions concerning these “other sources” which are actually demons.  He feels the same today as He did then. He has not changed His mind.

          When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord; and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you….For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so.  (Deut 18: 9-12, 14) (emphasis mine)

          4. Okay to explore or play with supernatural powers other than God.

          One of the most successful demonic strategies is absorption —- playing with something you cannot control (Martin). Paul warns us not to give place to the devil, from which he can advance in our life.

          “…and do not give the devil an opportunity…” (Ephesians 4: 27) 

          5. Equates mythology with the truth.

          At the beginning of the church, mythology was weaved into every aspect of life. As I understand it, mythology is making a come back today, even in the visible church.  One of the early church defenders of the Faith was a Greek known as Justin Martyr, who was a student of philosophy (wisdom).  He knew all about the pagan gods associated with Greek mythology.  After becoming a Christian in 132 AD, he wrote The Discourse To The Greeks upbraiding the Greeks concerning their customs and false gods,  challenging them to come to the true God.  If you are interested in what a person who was raised under such demonic deception has to say about mythology, his discourse can be found here.

          6. You are a God, can become a God or that everyone, including the lost man, has God dwelling in them.

          Anytime you hear this kind of teaching, know that it originated with the demons.  According to the Bible, the only people with God in them today is the born again believers who have the indwelling Holy Spirit “who is given as a pledge of our inheritance” (Ephesians 1:14).   The born again believer is not God and never will become God. There is only One True God.  The other night one of the travel channels was talking about a famous far eastern poet who looked for God in the synagogue, then the mosque, and then the church. Only to find out that he was already in his heart.  That is deception.  Until a man comes to Christ as Lord and Saviour, he is ruled by forces of darkness and the  vanity of his mind.  God is not in him.  Another example of this lie would be Mormonism, which teaches that the Mormon man will become a god on his own planet.

          7. All supernatural entities and visions are good and from God.

          Billions of sincere people have been deceived by demons masquerading as deceased loved ones, deceased Christians, and other individuals.  Demons impersonating dead people is one reason God forbids His people to have any communication with the dead, even supposedly Christian dead.  The saved people are in heaven and can not leave. The lost people are in the place of torment and can not leave.  See Luke 16: 19 – 31. The dead are not ghosts wandering around in the atmosphere. The scripture says,  “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,…” (Hebrew 9: 27) When you die you go to either heaven or hell and that is where you stay until the Judgement Seat of Christ (Romans 14: 10 – 12) which is for believers or the Great White Throne Judgement (Revelation 20:11-15), which is for those who have rejected Christ. There is no middle ground.

          8. You shall surely not die.

          God told Adam that the day He ate from the tree in the garden he would surely die.  The serpent told Eve that “you will surely not die”.  He beguiled her into believing that God was a liar and could not be trusted.  She and Adam did die. They died spiritually RIGHT THEN and later died physically. And the creation has been engulfed in misery and darkness every since.  That is why King Jesus told the Jewish teacher that he MUST be born again (spiritually) in John 3 to see and enter the Kingdom of God.

          Demonic teachings cast doubt on the character of the Living God. They make God out to be a liar and the word of God unreliable.  Their judgement comes and will not delay.

          9. To connect with God make your mind passive.

          We are told to renew our minds in Romans 12: 1-2. An unrenewed mind dwells in ignorance and darkness and is still controlled by the lies and deceptions that have been admitted to the mind. That is why a new Christian’s mind needs to be renewed by God’s truth. A passive or blank mind is an open door to the powers of darkness. NEVER EVER do this, even if it is for a “Christian” exercise such as contemplative prayer. Not in yoga, even Christian yoga, or transcendental mediation. Couple a passive mind with number 7 above and that is where you’ll be deceived. More on this later.

          2 Corinthians 11: 3-4 tells us that demons try to lead us away from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ using ANOTHER JESUS, a DIFFERENT SPIRIT than the Holy Spirit, and a DIFFERENT GOSPEL, a different way to God. They were there in Paul’s day and they are here today.

          Do not be deceived Brethren. Renew your mind, be led by His Holy Spirit and His Word. Walk humbly before your God, walk in His light and lean not on your own understanding.

          If the demons are trying to put fear on you even now after reading this, remember that “…Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (I John 4:4) And that Jesus prayed to the Father for you in John 17: 15 “I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.” “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4: 7).

          May He richly illuminate the eyes of our hearts so that we walk in a manner worthy of Him, pleasing Him in all respects. Thank you for your time.

          Carl

          The New Testament

          “The New Testament is of full authority, and open to the understanding of simple men, as to the points that be most needful to salvation…He that keepeth meekness and charity [love] hath the true understanding and perfection of all Holy Writ,” for “Christ did not write his laws on tables, or on skins of animals, but in the hearts of men.”

          John Wyclif (1320 -1384), the English reformer, headed a group that translated the Latin Bible into the English common language. (Addition mine)

          From Church History in Plain Language — Bruce L. Shelley