Holy and Blameless: Part 4

thVRL4JEU2

(Note: For parts one through three, please scroll to bottom of this post or use search bar.)

“…yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach —” (Col. 1:22 emphasis mine)

In this scripture the Apostle Paul is telling us that the Lord Jesus has reconciled us SO THAT He may present us before Himself in a state of being holy and  blameless and beyond reproach.  Notice it is “before Himself” at this point but I Thess. 3:13 tells us: “…so that He may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.”  Ultimately you will be presented to God the Father as one who is holy, blameless and beyond reproach.

Let’s break this scripture down and discuss what these descriptive characteristics mean.

“Holy” comes from a Greek word used to designate a building, person or something else that was dedicated to the service and worship of one of their pagan gods.  It is the same Greek word translated “saint” that Paul calls the born again believers.  The word speaks of separation. In our case it is separation from evil and separation to the service and worship of the Lord Jesus and God the Father.  Colossians 1: 13 says the Holy Spirit

“… delivered us out of the tyrannical rule of the darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His Love, in whom we have our liberation, procured by the payment of ransom, the putting away of our sins; ” (Wuest)

In Galatians 1:4 Paul said:

“…the Lord Jesus Christ who gave Himself in behalf of our sins so that He might rescue us out from the present pernicious age…” (Wuest)

These two scriptures witness to the fact that our faith in the Lord Jesus has brought about a separation from evil and separation to good in our new life.   So positionally we are holy or separated unto Christ.

It is the believers responsibility, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to make this positional truth experientially true in his new life in-Christ.  We need to make it a reality in our character. Paul put it this way after telling us  what Almighty God said about dwelling in us in II Corinthians 6: 16-18:

“Having therefore these promises, beloved ones, let us cleanse ourselves from all contamination which may defile the flesh [the human body] and the [human] spirit,  progressively accomplishing holiness in the fear of the Lord.” (II Cor. 7:1 Wuest)

Notice that Paul is saying “let us cleanse ourselves“. This is the responsibility of the believer with the help of the Holy Spirit. We are to be “perfecting holiness” in the reverential awe of the Lord. Perfecting that separation from evil in our lives.

In Romans 12: 1-2 Paul says the same thing in more detail.  Notice Paul’s urgency in what he writes:

“I therefore beg of you, please, brethren, through the instrumentality of the aforementioned mercies of God, by a once-for-all presentation to place your bodies at the disposal of God, a sacrifice, a living one, a holy one, well-pleasing, your rational, sacred service, [rational, in that this service is performed by the exercise of the mind]. And stop assuming an outward expression that does not come from within you and is not representative of what you are in your inner being but is patterned after this age; but change your outward expression to one that comes from within and is representative of your inner being, by the renewing of your mind, resulting in your putting to the test what is the will of God, the good and well-pleasing and complete will, and having found that it meets specifications, place your approval upon it.” (Wuest)

The inner being is the positional you, the real you, who you are by the new birth and the “change your outward expression” is an exhortation to make the positional a reality in your experience.  He is saying don’t cover up the new person you are in Christ with the evil characteristics of this pernicious age or world.

Therefore, in conclusion, we are exhorted to be experientially holy, separated from evil.  Sin is evil. Remember “evil” is what God says is “evil”, not what we may think “evil” is.  That is why we need to read our Bibles to learn what He says is evil.  It is that simple.

Also Peter says “Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him, in peace, spotless, and blameless.” (II Peter 3: 14). “Spotless” refers to being undefiled by sin or being holy, being free from censure, irreproachable. Notice Peter says we need to “be diligent” about this. This speaks of intense effort.  This characteristic of holiness will not just happen in our lives, we must supply serious effort in our working with the Holy Spirit in sanctification.  And He will bring it to pass!!

Due to travel, we will look at the words “blameless” and “reproach” next weekend. Thank you for your time.  I pray the eyes of your heart were illuminated. Now:

“…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.”  (Phil 2: 12-13 Wuest)

May you be carrying your salvation to its ultimate conclusion!  God bless you.

Carl

 

 

Found Holy and Blameless – Part 3

thN8QCOS8W

(Note: For Part one and two, please scroll down to the bottom of this post or use the search bar. Thank you.)

In our last post we spoke about being “before Him” (Ephesians 1:4) and what that meant, how the Holy Spirit was gazing NOW, into our innermost being to see the reflection of Jesus in our character.  After finishing that post, I felt compelled to share the following.

In James 4: 4 Brother James tells the recipients of his letter “…do you not know that your friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore would desire after mature consideration to be a friend of the world is [thereby] constituted an enemy of God.” (Wuest).

God The Father sent Jesus to the Cross to rescue us from this present evil age (Gal. 1:4) and since the world is Satan’s kingdom (John 14: 30), He, God The Father, is VERY SERIOUS about us not loving the world and the things of the world.  (See Rev. 2:20 – 23)

Through I John 2: 15 (Wuest) He tells us to “Stop considering the world precious with the result that you love it…” The people James is writing to evidently still considered the world precious and their indwelling evil nature was fulfilling its passionate carvings through the things of the world. The Holy Spirit was not in control of their life but their evil nature was.

This why James tells them in verse 5:

“Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: The Spirit which He has made to dwell in us jealously desires us.” (NASB margin note)

Wuest’s Expanded Translation sheds light on what the second half of that verse means:

“The Spirit [Holy Spirit] who has been caused to make His permanent home in us has a passionate desire [to control us] to the point of envy [of any control indwelling sin may have over us]?

Now take a moment and let that sink in. Read it again.

Now, listen to the Holy Spirit through Paul in II Cor. 11: 2-3

“For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin…”

And why was he jealous?

“But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”

He, the Holy Spirit, has a passionate desire to sit on the throne of our hearts, giving us the desire and power to say NO to enticements to sin.  As we say NO to temptation, He provides the power to follow through and manifest Jesus in us in the process.  He wants us to stay faithful to our bridegroom Christ Jesus and not be an adulteress by loving Satan’s world. “Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we? (I Cor. 10: 22) says Paul to the Corinthians.

Rick Renner in his Sparkling Gems From The Greek summons up how He feels about us very nicely:

“The Holy Spirit is not a passive Partner. He aggressively and actively pursues you.  He fiercely wants more of you. When you give part of yourself to something or someone else’s control, the Holy Spirit wants to seize that part of your life and bring it back under His divine control….So make your relationship with the Holy Spirit your top priority. Don’t give Him a reason to feel betrayed by or envious of other things in your life that have taken His place.  Get to know the Holy Spirit’s voice in your spirit so He can help you set your life in order. Make sure every area of your life is under His loving control!”

The crowning purpose of salvation is for us “to become conformed to the image of His Son,..”.  That, I believe, is the main purpose the Holy Spirit indwells us. Is that not what this sick and wicked society needs to see? JESUS IN ALL OF HIS LIFE-CHANGING GLORY!

II Corinthians 6: 16 -18 tells us that the Holy Spirit is none other than the Lord Almighty. Oh, how we need to let Him OUT for the lost masses to see! Let that be our purpose in life every day we arise.

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to 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 NASB emphasis mine)

Carl

Holy & Blameless – Part 2

123

(Note: For Part One of this series, please go to the bottom of this post. Thank you.)

As we discussed in Part One, our brothers Paul, Peter, Jude and other New Testament writers are exhorting us to be diligent to be found holy and blameless “before Him”.

The Greek words translated “exhort” and “exhortation” in the English language denote “to call on, entreat”, “to admonish, to urge, someone to pursue some course of conduct”, to advise, warn” and “to impel morally, to urge forward, encourage”.  I share this to make it clear that the motive in writing on this subject is not to bring condemnation but to encourage us to go forward in being conformed to His image (Romans 8:29).  We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices.

I also wanted to share what Kenneth Wuest, former Greek professor at Moody Bible Institute (1950s), said about the meaning of the phrase “before Him”.  He says the word “before” in the Greek means “to see down in” and:

“The word speaks of a penetrating gaze that sees right down into a thing. It refers here to the penetrating gaze of the Holy Spirit as He sees right down into our innermost being, through all of the superficialities, hypocrisies, and shams of human existence. This refers to a PRESENT searching gaze of God into the inner character of the saint, not to a FUTURE judgement at the Judgement Seat of Christ.  And it is not a searching gaze conducted in a critical attitude which looks for faults, but a satisfied, delighted contemplation of the reflection of the holiness and spotlessness of the Lord Jesus in the character of the saint, for Alford says; “implying an especial nearness and dearness to Him—-and bearing a foretaste of the time when the elect shall shall be before the throne of God (Rev. 7:15).”” (Emphasis mine)

Notice that he says that “before Him” in this text refers to NOW and not the FUTURE Judgement Seat of Christ. In Jude 24, I Thess 5:23, I Thess 3: 13, Phil 1:10, and Eph 5: 27 it is referring to the future event.  In the first post of this series, I said the context of this exhortation was the Judgement Seat of Christ, but I evidently missed this explanation. I apologize for any confusion this may have created.

In Galatians, Paul speaks about the Isralites being typed as little children unable to attend to themselves; therefore, they needed a guardian to guide and protect them. This was the Old Testament Law.  Now, we as adopted children of God, do not need a guardian because the Holy Spirit indwells us.  And He is far more powerful than the Law.  In Wuest’s explanation we see Him gazing into our innermost person, contemplating the reflection of the Lord Jesus!

May He be seeing a beautiful reflection of Jesus in your inner most being today.

He Has Blessed You In Christ,

Carl

Found Holy & Blameless – Part One

th

“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 Emphasis mine)

Scripture exhorts us to be holy and blameless.  It has nothing to do with our justification in Christ, our salvation, but is descriptive of the character that is produced as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the sanctification process that begins once we are born again.  He produces the character of Jesus in us.  We stop loving sin and the world, satan’s kingdom,  and start loving the Lord Jesus. We stop practicing sin and start practicing righteousness.  We are gradually conformed to His image.

Our scripture locates where this character is desired: “we should be holy and blameless before Him.”  Nearly all the scriptures associated with this phrase, or phrases similar to it, mention this context: “before Him“, when we “stand in the presence of His glory“, or “at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” or “until the day of Christ” or “that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory”.  This all refers to us standing in His Presence after He raptures the church and the Judgement Seat of Christ occurs.  The next BIG EVENT on the biblical calendar.

When He comes to rapture His people out of the earth, we will see Him in all His Glory and each believer will stand before Him to receive our reward or loss of rewards depending on what we have done for Him.  It is here in His Personal Glorious Presence that the New Testament writers exhort us to be found “holy and blameless”.

The Apostle John saw Him in His Glory in Revelation 1: 12-16 and “fell at His feet as a dead man.”  Following is a description of how Lord Jesus looked:

“…one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His breast with a golden girdle. And His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire; and His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been caused to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters….and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.”  (Rev.1: 13 -16)

It is in His Presence that we are exhorted to “be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless”, (II Peter 3:14). Take a moment to reflect on this awesome meeting that you will experience as a born again child of God.  To see your Savior face to face.  The word of God says we will either be filled with exceedingly great joy and be able to speak or we will turn away in shame.  Which do you want?

Father God, help us by your Holy Spirit to be found separated from evil and faultless in the Presence of Your Beloved Son.  Help us to be found  in love with Him and behaving in this age in a manner worthy of Him. In His Name we pray. Amen.

In our next post we will explore further the meaning of this exhortation to be “holy and blameless before Him“. I hope you will join us.  Thank you for your valuable time.

Do all things without grumbling and disputing; that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,..”  (Philippians 2: 14-15 emphasis mine)

Pay Close Attention To Yourself..” and “…Prove yourselves…”

God Bless You and Yours,

Carl

 

 

 

The Occult: A Trap For Those Who Turn Away From The True Living God

thWHKY7I2A

“Today, a terrible spiritual vacuum exists in which people are forced to live because they turned from the living God and tried to fill the resulting emptiness with physical pleasure. Man crowds into this vacuum all the moral and ethical values attached to the material world. Again and again people protest, “There’s got to be something more than this, because we’re not satisfied.”  Satisfaction has not come through the dollar sign. Satisfaction has not come through the pill. Satisfaction has not come through economic aggrandizement or political conquests or military supremacy. Lost in a spiritual void, the human heart searches for some kind of reality apart from God and His Word, and discovers the occult reality from another dimension.”

“For the first time in history, the doorway to the occult has been left permanently ajar on a global scale, luring the unsuspecting — twenty-four hours a day — to the dimension of darkness. The kids who play with Ouija boards and think it is fun; the teenagers who try to levitate tables and read tarot cards, tea leaves, and their palms; and the parents who identify themselves as Virgo or Scorpio and believe what today’s paper says about tomorrow are people flirting with the kingdom of the occult, and it is perilous, because it reaches out to another dimension and endangers the soul.”

“God recognized what men had failed to recognize: knowledge of the future is in His hand, and any attempt to obtain from the hand of demons what has been denied by the will of the Divine is an experiment fraught with peril and dangers undreamed of by the human soul.”  (emphasis mine)

The Kingdom of the Occult   —Walter Martin, Jill Martin Rische, Kurt Van Gorden

God makes Himself very clear in Deuteronomy 18: 9-14 how He feels about occult practices and the people who do them:

“When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the LORD your God has not appointed such for you.”

God considered the Canaanite occult practices “abominations” worthy of capital punishment. We do not want to be an abomination to God by consulting the powers of darkness, demons, for knowledge that He never intended us to have, opening our souls up to demonic powers.  We want to be holy and blameless before Him.  As Christian parents, it is vitally important that we protect our children  from any involvement or exposure to these abominations. Teach them that they are wrong.

If you are a born-again believer and have been involved in any of these abominations in the past or are now, repent (change your mind about them), ask God to forgive you and let the blood of the Lamb wash away this sin.  Then destroy any occult materials or objects you have in your possession.  Forsake any involvement in the future.  Then walk in peace with your Father God.

More on this later.

Walk in discernment. May God richly bless you!

Carl

 

Love in Action

Rome-appian-way

Appian Way south of Rome – one location of Christian catacomb burials

“Atheism (i.e. Christian faith) has been specially advanced through the loving service rendered to strangers, and through their care for the burial of the dead.  It is a scandal that there is not a single Jew who is a beggar, and that the godless Galileans care not only for their own poor but for ours as well; while those who belong to us look in vain for the help that we should render them.”

Roman Emperor Julian (332-63) – Church History in Plain Language – Bruce L. Shelley

Emperor Julian, after Roman Emperor Constantine, was attempting to bring revival of the traditional Roman pagan religion when he made this observation.  He wanted to set aside Christianity and bring back the ancient faith, but he saw clearly the drawing power of Christian love.  Christians were called “atheist” by the Romans because they did not believe in Emperor worship.

Mr. Shelley says the following in reference to early Christians providing burials for the dead.

“One expression of Christian love had a particularly far-reaching effect. The church often  provided burial service for poor brethren. Christians felt that to deprive a person of honorable burial was a terrible thing. Lactantius, the North African scholar (C.240-320) wrote, “We will not allow the image and creation of God [the human body] to be thrown out to the wild beasts and the birds as their prey; it must be given back to the earth from which it was taken.””

This self-sacrificial love for people is said to be one of the reasons that the Gospel spread so fast in the beginning.  The testimony of this pagan Emperor bears witness to the words of the Lord Jesus:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.  (John 13: 34-35 emphasis mine)

May we manifest His love for others as we go about our days.

God Bless You!

Carl

Blinding the “Eyes of The Heart”

open-your-eyes-to-the-beauty-around-you-open-your-eyes-to-the-wonders-of-life-open-your-heart-to-those-who-love-you-and-always-be-true-to-

“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  (2 Corinthians 4: 3-4) (Emphasis mine)

In the original language of the New Testament, the writers express the human understanding as the “eyes of the heart”. In this scripture Apostle Paul pulls back the curtain between the spiritual and physical dimensions and explains why people do not receive the gospel. I would like to share some thoughts on what Satan, the god of this world, uses to blind the eyes of the heart, the understanding of the unbelieving.

The word “Blinded” is tuphloo in the Greek language, whose root tuph means “to burn, smoke” and is used metaphorically, of dulling of the intellect”  (Vines).

Hence, the “blinding” that Satan does is a dulling of the intellect.  The intellect is defined as the “faculty of reasoning and understanding objectively” (Oxford Dictionary). To be objective is to keep your decision from being influenced by your personal feelings or opinions.

I would like to humbly suggest that  a person’s pride, Satan’s original sin, is what dulls the person’s intellect.  Scripture says that “Haughty eyes and  a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, is sin.  (Proverb 21:4 emphasis mine) In other words, they see all truth that is shared with them in the light or understanding of their prideful feelings and opinions.  And when that truth does not submit to or compliment their  pride, they reject it.   Through demons manipulating their thoughts, circumstances and their own indwelling sin nature, Satan dulls their understanding  by creating a false evaluation of their self-worth in their mind.

Psalms 119: 105 says that God’s word is a lamp to our feet and our path so that we do not stumble in our daily living.  Their pride is a false light, actually darkness, to their feet and path and they stumble (perish) because of it.  They can not see Satan’s traps, the consequences of sin and the need for a Savior.  And in the end “The lamp of the wicked will be put out” (Proverb 24:20).  They will be humbled but it may be too late to change.

James, Jesus’ half brother, exhorted us to humility by writing “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands sinners; purify your hearts, you double minded.”  (James 4:6-8)

As we go about our daily lives, we encounter two types of people.  One type is willfully ignorant of the life of God. Paul adds further revelation about the lost when he says they are “excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart.” (Ephesians 4:18)  They know there is a God but, because of the “hardness of their heart”,  they do not want to know about Him because they think practicing sin will make them happy and bring satisfaction in life.  This is the deceitfulness of sin.   Job said “to depart from sin is understanding” (Job 28:28), therefore, they choose not to understand Him, to keep the light of the gospel out.  Job describes them:

“And they say to God, “Depart from us! We do not even desire the knowledge of Thy ways. Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him, and what would we gain if we entreat Him?” (Job 21:14)

“They have been with those who rebel against the light; They do not want to know its ways, nor abide in its paths.” (Job 24: 13)

I once read a true story about a Christian who took a lost acquaintance to hear a famous Christian apologist speak. After the presentation, he asked his lost guest his opinion.  The lost guy said that everything the apologist said made sense but he would not accept it because he did not want to give up his lifestyle.  He willfully kept the light of the  gospel out, choosing to walk in the light of his pride.

The other type of person is just like the one above except for the fact that the Holy Spirit of God is dealing with him . If you are a born again believer this was you (and me). Someone shared the gospel with us and through the Holy Spirit’s conviction of sin and righteousness the pride was torn down, the eyes of our hearts where illuminated by His truth and we understood we were sinners in need of a Saviour. God even gave us the faith to believe, repent of our sins, and obey the gospel message and now we are His adopted children walking humbly before our Father and Jesus Christ, our Lord. Praise His Name Forever.

So as you go about your life, do not prevent people from being able to access Jesus through you.  In love, open your mouth and share His truth. Be a Holy Spirit led witness of the grace of God in your life. Be willing to address the pride that is blinding people so the truth can shine in on their understanding.  The Holy Spirit is working everyday to bring people to the Cross and glorify Jesus.  Let us work with Him and He will work with us.

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

Carl