WHO IS IN CHARGE OF YOUR SALVATION?

I have been a Christian over 60 years. I have seen it all and I see an endemic problem that captures the mind and hearts of people, whether lost or professing believers. What is that? It is the idea that humans have the ability to rise up out of our jail cell, the home of our fallen nature, and defy the head of our family Satan, when we are lost and without Christ and God!

To even think we can by our own power and abilities rise up and shake off the power of Satan over us and make God save us is astounding, especially since the Word of God states otherwise.

An illustration which hopefully can create what the Bible teaches about the status of a human being from conception is as follows:

Human beings since the fall of Adam and Eve, are conceived in sin. That means they are as bad off spiritually as they can be, even though they may not act out in the worst way possible for being in such a state because God in HIS grace keeps them back from being as bad as they can be. Think of it this way; a person who is lost is NOT like a person floating on the water about to sink and drown and all we have to do is throw them a rope of hope so they can save their life. This is NOT a good illustration at all but in fact, an absolute false illustration of ones spiritual reality as a sinner on this earth. What would be more correct would be this: a person lost and without Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior, is not floating on a sea of water and drowning, but rather, he or she is on the bottom of the sea or lake, dead, drowned, not alive at all. They are bound by sin, controlled by sin, in darkness, separated from God and spiritually dead, in the family of Satan, and locked in chains and bondage in his jailhouse and doing his bidding! That is where people are until the Commander in Chief of Heaven’s Armies comes and rescues them!

The facts are that God in the Garden of Eden told Adam that if they ate of the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil they would die! They did. They died spiritually, meaning God was no longer their God and Lord and Master and they fell into darkness, the bondage of sin and Satan and immediately became members of Satan’s kingdom.

Immediately, they became cognizant of their sin, and God became someone whom they feared and sought to hide from. As we think on that scene, we see Adam and Eve hiding, recognizing something was wrong. They knew they were naked and they felt shame, and so worked hard to escape and hide from God, because they could “hear” God walking in the Garden.

Man today, knows there is a power above, but will not come toward Him, but rather, seeks to hide from Him and do his own thing which is to continue in sin and let Satan lead him. God states so clearly through the prophets and also through the Apostle Paul, that “No man seeks after God” (Romans 3:11; Psalm 14:1-3). That is a fact period! God said it so it is! No man seeks God!

Humans, consist of a soul/spirit and heart (innermost being of mankind) and a mind. Man has desires, wants, and, lusts as part of their DNA. Adam and Eve desires were holy and right until they sinned in the Garden of Eden and those good desires and wants and wishes turned into sinful desires and wants and wishes. Man’s entire being was corrupted by sin. We call it depravity and that depravity was total and not partial.

So, the above brings us to a discussion of the human will. I acknowledge this is a hot topic. But, it really is so simple if we put aside our emotions and think logically. What comes first? I contend our desires, our wants, our wishes, our lusts are the dictators which motivate the “will” to function, in order to carry out our desire, wants, and wishes. So, whatever our nature asks for our “will” will carry it out. Unbelievers act out of their sinful nature. They do nothing for the glory of God. The only things that may restrain them are their conscience, fears, culture, or the consequences of sin. So, those things control their will. For the believer, from the moment of salvation God starts changing our want tos and our desires through the Holy Spirit and the word of God. So, when temptations and sin rises up in us we call on the Spirit to give us strength to resist.

In other words, the will of man is NOT free and in control. It is our human desires that control our wills. The will obeys our desires, which can be good or bad. They can be holy or sinful. The strongest desire will control our will. It is not the other way around. The will doesn’t sit back and search out what it wants to do and then act, but rather, it is in bondage to whatever is the strongest thing that is presented to it. It will be either God’s will or the power of the flesh and sin. Our sinful nature is always seeking to express itself, but through the power of Christ within us we overcome it. That is why Martin Luther stated, “The Will is in bondage” for it is bound either by the power of the flesh and sin or by the power of the word of God.

Also, the word teaches that Spiritual truths cannot be understood by an unbeliever. If they should read the word of God, they cannot understand the spiritual meaning of it. Without the Holy Spirit in them they cannot be taught Biblical truths and facts and understand them. It is all foolishness and something strange to them.

So, how does a person become a Christ follower and be saved from the wrath and judgment of God? What has to take place? Who starts the process and makes it happen? Is it the person who lives in bondage to sin? Is it the person who lives in darkness with no spiritual understanding? Is it the man or woman who figures it all out and knows how to be saved by doing some human work, like walking an aisle, raising your hand, signing a card? Is it the person “making” God come down to him and save him and forgive him of his sins?

God says NO! No man seeks after God. That is what God says!

So, how does it come about? Romans 9 and many other places throughout the Word tell us that GOD HIMSELF GRANTS MAN FORGIVENESS AND REPENTANCE AND FAITH. Faith comes through God bringing His word, the Gospel, to a person, which then produces the New Birth. That is, LIFE is given to the DEAD soul and spirit of a person. Then, due to God’s First Cause work of the New Birth, that person is enabled to choose Christ, call on Christ, believe and trust in Christ, repent of his or her sins, and ask forgiveness, and submit and worship Christ. Without God coming to us, and calling, drawing, and opening our hearts and minds and souls and spirits, making us ALIVE to God, we would NEVER come to Him. The Gospel is the power of God unto Salvation.

We would NEVER even desire to know Christ Jesus. So, it is BY GRACE ALONE, THROUGH FAITH ALONE, BY CHRIST ALONE, FOR THE GLORY OF GOD ALONE, WE ARE SAVED AND FORGIVEN AND FOLLOW JESUS.

It is all about God and Christ and the Holy Spirit doing their work in a wicked, evil, sinning unbeliever. Yes, we make a choice to follow Jesus, but He gives us the ability to make that choice. Our choice was first a divine work from God upon our dead innermost being which enabled in us a desire for Jesus.

Also, our choice was a guaranteed choice. When God through the Holy Spirit takes out our heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:25-27), so that we may know Him there is no way a guilty sinner is going to say, “No God, don’t do that. I don’t want to redeemed and spend eternity in Heaven with You. I will resist the Holy Spirit’s drawing. Not going to happen!

A crude example is this: Your vehicle may have a battery and a fuel tank, but if the battery has no power and is dead, and there is no gasoline in the fuel tank, it will NEVER start. It won’t respond no matter how many times you try to start it. You have to have gas in the tank and electricity in the battery or it won’t work ever! God has to place within us the power and ability to repent, trust in and believe and have holy faith or it will never take place.

God is a choosing God!! He could save all mankind if He so chose to do so. But He didn’t. Someone will say that this is because man makes the choice to be saved or not and not God. But, I hope we have seen that can’t be true.
And you can’t use 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” because then that would make humans more powerful than God. It would mean God is wishing for people to be saved and they are having none of it. This would mean God is not God! For the Bible teaches there is NOTHING that GOD can’t do.

Besides, that would be taking that verse out of context and misinterpreting it. Who is Peter writing to? The same people he wrote to in 1 Peter, the elect exiles. In 2 Peter, he tells them to make their calling and election sure. He is writing to saved people, the elect, they are the “you” and “any” and “all” of verse 9.

Here is another point. When Adam and Eve sinned they died spiritually AND BOTH WERE CONSIGNED TO THE WRATH OF GOD IMMEDIDATELY. God performed a sacrifice so He could pass over their sin until Jesus’ once for all sacrifice was made. AND SO VERY CHILD BORN TO THEM DOWN THROUGH TIME UNTIL THIS VERY DAY IS IN THE SAME SITUATION!

All humans are conceived in SIN and are under wrath and condemnation from God the Father. So, it is NOT just when they begin to think about things and make choices whether good or bad, but rather the opposite. They are born sinners.

That means that unless some outside source comes to their rescue they will have to be eventually sent to hell and the lake for eternal punishment. We were there in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. We all were represented by Adam. In other words, Adam acted on our behalf, and if we had been there we would have done the same thing he did. So, we need a helper, a savior, a God who will come and rescue us. That is what the Gospel does.

It is Jesus who sees dead people at the bottom of the sea of sin and comes to the rescue. He says to us, “LIVE” and we come alive. We are forgiven and made into the Children of God and we follow Jesus our Lord and Savior because of God’s choice and power not our own. A key verse of Scripture states, “11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13).

In all this, we must address the justice of God. The holiness of God demands justice upon the whole human race for their rebellion. We are cosmic traitors. All people should be sent to hell for our rebellion. EVERY LAST ONE OF US DESERVES THE eternal punishment! The angels who fell have no Savior and they are consigned to the Lake of Fire.

But, GOD chose to save some humans, His supreme creation, made in His image. He has forgiven us and saved us from His own wrath and has given us to His Son Jesus as a love gift (John 17) and we are now called the sons of God, children of God, joint heirs of everything with Christ Jesus, new creations, priests of God, holy people and a holy nation.

THE ONLY question I am left with is, why me. I don’t deserve to be forgiven by a holy God. I am no better than anyone else. I am a sinner like all of us. Why save me? Nothing in me merits salvation. Why me and why all of us who are saved? Why not all? Why didn’t He save everyone? I can’t answer that. No one can answer that question. God acts according to His own good pleasure (Ephesians 1). His secret will covers the question. But, because we know His revealed will, we know what He wants us to know.

Romans 9 and Isaiah 64:8 tell us God is the Potter and we are the clay, and He says He does what He wishes and wills with those whom He has created. In doing so, HE CANNOT BE CHARGED WITH A WRONG. FOR THE LOST ARE JUSTLY CONDEMNED FOR THEIR SIN AND REBELLION, AND THOSE HE CHOOSES TO SAVE HAVE THEIR SINS PLACED ON JESUS WHO PAID FOR THEIR CRIME AGAINST GOD AND SO THEY GO FREE. THIS IS ALSO JUST AND HOLY FOR GOD CAN SHOW MERCY TO WHOM HE CHOOSES TO SHOW MERCY AND CAN’T BE CHARGED WITH WRONGDOING.

A human judge, or President, or ruler of a nation can make a decision and let someone be set free from jail or even a death sentence if they wish to do so. It is called mercy. He or she doesn’t do that for all criminals, but sometimes mercy is shown to some. If they can do that and be correct and right, God certainly can, but remember Jesus paid our price we owed for our sinful rebellion by shedding His blood and paying the price by dying for us, in that way we can be shown mercy.

God then transfers Jesus’ holy righteousness to our account making us acceptable to God.

THIS IS THE GOD WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH AND HE IS ALWAYS RIGHT IN WHAT HE DOES. HIS WAYS OR NOT OUR WAYS AND HIS THOUGHTS ARE NOT OUR THOUGHTS. SO BOW TO HIM AND REPENT OF CHALLENGING HIM AND HIS WORKS!

Don’t even think of saying that’s not fair, because we don’t want God to be fair! If he was fair, He would sentence all of us to hell and the Lake of Fire, because we deserve it. So God shows love, compassion, mercy and unmerited favor (Grace) to unworthy sinners whom He calls, draws, and brings to the Light granting them the ability to believe in Jesus and call upon Him for salvation.

Thank God we had our names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life before the foundation of the world, for if it were not done by Him, we all would perish. Thank God for these wonderful truths rather than call Him into question about anything! We are from the dust of the earth and only mortals, HE is GOD, so let God be God and quit trying to be God by thinking for Him!!

Our pride takes us all to destruction, so let it not be rising up in indignation, but rather, let us humble ourselves in thankful submission for our great God who loved us enough to die for us and rise from the dead giving us eternal life.

All my words can be substantiated by reading the Book of Romans, the Gospel of John, the book of Galatians, the book of Ephesians, the book of Genesis, and the book of Revelation. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you light to see God’s truth in His word. He will answer that prayer.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY ALONE AND NOT MAN!

IDENTIFYING MARKS OF A TRUE CHRISTIAN!

SPOTLIGHT: CULTURES REFLECT VARIOUS AND DIVERSE WAYS OF LIFE IN TERMS OF EVERYTHING FROM BUILDINGS, VEHICLES, HOMES, DRESS, AND APPROACHES TO LIFE !

Christian culture affects our way of life over all. It is and can be identified in our outward demonstrations of life events, our actions in government, how we design buildings, and how we handle economics.

Peter the Apostle of Jesus Christ our God mentions in I Peter 2 that we are a chosen nation of people. Nations reflect a primary style of living which is called a culture and that means the people are distinctively identified by not only their skin color, but the outward manifestations of things one sees in their domains.

Inward ideas and belief systems do affect many things outwardly. For instance, a Christ follower may show a more conservative approach to outward dress. That is, their dress will be more modest than the non- believers, or at least it should be!! Buildings used for worship are distinctively recognized as Christian. Many times there are outward symbols such as a Cross. Secular buildings may have signs indicating what goes on inside of them.

Cultures can be studied in human history. For instance, the culture of the Corinthians in the time of Christ and Paul the Apostle was noted for its immorality, especially sexual deviations, and idol worship. Then there are certain tribes or racial groups on various islands around the globe were people practiced head hunting and would kill and eat the human bodies they had slain.

I noted one tribe that practiced cannibalism, but also, practiced honesty and were very careful not to steal someone else’s property.

The Roman Empire eventually had a reputation which identified them with much immorality, so much so, it actually contributed to their total downfall.

I refer to all of this because I wish to share with you how throughout history God allows tribes, nations, and individuals to progress more and more into evil and sin, or He may bring certain tribes and cultures to faith in Himself and His Son Jesus Christ changing their entire way of life and culture.

In the United States there has been times when we were collapsing spiritually and morally. Church buildings were empty, worship of God was on a low level. Bars and sordid and crude entertainment was prominent, drunkenness and prostitution was high. Our nation was in deep trouble. But, God chose to bring people back to worship and changed the entire nation and we called that period of time “The Great Awakening” reflecting how people turned to God through Jesus Christ and began worshipping Him. Bars and houses of ill repute were closed down and Church buildings begin filling up with people worshipping God. They took their faith seriously and it changed the culture.

Remember this, we cannot, no matter how strong our desire to do so, in our own power change the culture to a righteous and holy one. Only God Himself can do that by changing the hearts, souls and spirits of the people. He has to do it!! A nation can become more religious, but that will only be outward, but the innermost part of the culture’s citizens will be rotten to the core. They will be basically hypocrites, or moral deists without Christ. This is spoken of in the scriptures as, “those who have a form of Godliness but deny the power of God”!

This world is not paradise. You and I can’t make it into a paradise. Often when I ask others how they are doing, I hear, “Having another wonderful day in paradise”! Well, that’s not so! No paradise here. Paradise is coming, but it will only come when Jesus comes back and makes a new heavens and a new earth! But while we are here the culture will always be changing.

It either gets better or worse . And without the influence of true, Biblical Christianity it will get worse.

DISCOVERY:

True chosen Christ Followers, are those who realize their culture is different. Different than the one they were in prior to being called by Christ into His Kingdom and the new culture of God!

Inclusion in this new culture means there is going to be radical changes in the Christian’s life. Changes so different and so dynamic others can’t miss them.

God, for our good and His glory, has chosen to keep us in this broken-down sinful world. He has chosen to use the hardships of this world to complete our transformation into the image of Christ. He does not leave us helpless or alone either. He is not somewhere up there or far away from us. He is actually in us, with us and directing us.

He blesses us every day, and He has us right where He wants us to be. That means your marriage, your job, your local congregation of fellow believers, your family, and your friends and acquaintances, will NEVER be the paradise you want them to be in this world. If you are expecting that from them you will be highly disappointed.

We live in this world system, but as pilgrims, aliens, migrants from another unseen world and culture which is totally foreign to this one, but God has given us a place in that unseen culture and kingdom which is eternal paradise beyond our wildest dreams. Jesus said:

In my Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you but I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am you may be also.” John 14:2.

As we face hardships in this world, we must remember that GRACE has purchased us a ticket for the paradise above with Him which is to come. He will keep His promise. He kept His promise to the world to come the first time, to die and rise from the dead paying the penalty for our sins, so we can escape the judgment and wrath of the Father, and He promised to go back to Heaven and send the Holy Spirit to His chosen ones and He did!

So, He will return! Are you ready for Him? Do you really know Him and His culture? Are you finding that He is more satisfying than this world system and all it has to offer? If not why not? Come to Him and find life, satisfaction, contentment, hope and assurance that ONLY HE can give, for He is God! He loves His own and will always provide for them since they are HIS family!! Amen!

AMAZEMENT OR FAITH?

Photo by Jonny Lew on Pexels.com

SPOTLIGHT: When we see such majestic things before our very eyes, is it just amazement that takes place or do we realize this all was created by the God of the Universe and it is by FAITH in HIM we are amazed? There is a difference between amazement and faith. God isn’t just interested in creating a mind boggling experience, HE is after our obedience.

NOTE THE DIFFERENCES CONCERNING FAITH AND EXPERIENCE!

Paul David Tripp noted the following:

  • You can be amazed by the grand sweep of the redemptive story in Scripture and not be living by faith.
  • You can be amazed by the labyrinthine logic of the theology of the Word of God and not be living by faith.
  • You can be amazed by the great worship music you participate in every Sunday and not be living by faith.
  • You can be amazed by the love of your small group and not be living by faith.
  • You can be amazed by the wonderful biblical preaching and teaching that you hear and not be living by faith.
  • You can be amazed by the grace of the cross of Jesus and not be living by faith.

Hebrews 11:6 reads, “But without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please HIM; for He that comes to God must believe that HE is and that HE is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”

Faith! Let’s examine that again!

Examine Galatians 5:4-5: “For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.”

Notice how God is telling us that FAITH is the key. Keeping the law and looking to it to make us righteous will not ever work. Keeping rules, being religious is not going to cut it!!

FAITH is the key. Hebrews makes much of this for us. And, it is NOT just a learned or perhaps a mental assent to some doctrines and teachings either.

FAITH IS A LIVING, VITAL, ACTIVE, POWERFUL TRUST, CONFIDENCE, RELIANCE UPON, DEPENDENCY UPON, AND JUST PLAIN TOTAL BELIEF IN JESUS CHRIST AS MY HOPE, MY RIGHTEOUSNESS, MY LIFE, MY ALL IN ALL.

Trying to change our sinful habits and heart attitudes with just plain old determination of the mind and thoughts is called “Moral Deism”. We use special programs and courses to make things work.

IT WON’T WORK! WHY? FAITH COMES FROM OUTSIDE OF US AND INTO US BY GOD HIMSELF, AS HE AND HIS WORD by the Holy Spirit, CALLS US TO HIMSELF AND THE GOSPEL MESSAGE.

That is why it is called being “born again” or the “new birth” or the “new creation.” We can’t make such spiritual and miraculous things like that just happen through our will power. It really is a relationship that takes place between the sinner and God! And when I say God, I mean the Triune God, the Father, the Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit which is ONE God existing in three divine beings totally unified and never separated for one moment, and co-substantial and co-equal in all things.

This relationship is established by the presence of God coming to reside in our very innermost being (Heart, Soul, Spirit, the very core of our being). Our body, is the place that the “sin” abides and it is called the Flesh (Sarx or Sin). We, the new person created by God through His word and Spirit, are separated now from that Flesh. But, that flesh still gives us many problems as it uses the Law of God to condemn us, shame us, make us feel guilty, seeks to undermine the work of God in us, and also makes us insecure and causes us to think we may not even be saved because we sin against our Lord God at times.

But, we know Justification has taken place via Grace, because we receive the Holy Spirit and HE makes sure HE establishes that relationship with our spirit and confirms we are the sons of God. Also, we have received Christ Himself and the Father who comes and dwells within us, and we in God! It is an on-going vital relationship. It never ceases or stops. Even our stumbling into sin will not stop the Love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Sin, Satan and the System of this world can never take away what God has ordained and accomplished in our lives. We are secure in HIM! He keeps us. We do not keep ourselves for we are not able to do so!!

His is not satisfied with the wonder and amazement we have in our minds. He is not going to let it all stop there. He moves on to establishing His life-altering rule in our hearts, our souls and our spirits as He conforms us into the image of His Son. He matures us into His design for His children in this life and the next. From regeneration to glorification, it is ALL about HIM and HIS work in us!! Amen!

THE GOSPEL OF GRACE!

THE BOOK OF ROMANS, GALATIANS, COLOSSIANS AND THE GOSPEL OF JOHN ARE GREAT BOOKS TO STUDY CONCERNING THE DOCTRINES OF GRACE

David is prominent in the Old Testament, especially the book of Psalms. I love David and God’s teachings to him! He said in Psalm 32 the following:

“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty”.

When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat! Finally, I confessed all my sins to you, and stopped trying to HIDE my guilt. I said to myself, I will confess my rebellion to the Lord, and you forgave me! ALL my guilt is gone! Therefore, let the godly pray to you while there is STILL TIME, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment. For you are My Hiding Place; You protect me from trouble, You surround me with songs of victory!”

Hallelujah what a Savior! Amen!”

Was David a sinner? No, he wasn”t. David was a Saint! Does David sin after being saved by God’s grace, Yes! Why? He still lives in a body that has sin dwelling in it called the Flesh! David had a new heart, a new soul and a new spirit. God saved Him by His grace.

Yet, David had many personal sins during his lifetime. The fact is, salvation is FROM the penalty of sin, but sin still dwells in our flesh. That part of us is not born again! We struggle with sin. We do not wish to sin!

In the Garden of Eden when God called Adam and Eve to account for their sin, what took place? GOD came and found them. God came and called them. God killed a Lamb and shed its blood and took its skin and put it over their bodies to cover their nakedness.

One of the lessons for us in this is God is the one who grants mercy and grace. He did so through the shed blood of an animal which pointed to the Lamb of God (Jesus) who was to come and shed His blood for His peoples’ sin. Adam and Eve did not even blink an eye. They didn’t do anything. They were worked ON by God alone for His glory alone!!

The same today. God calls. God grants us faith and repentance. God grants us mercy, grace, and a new birth, covering us in Christ’s blood. He puts us into Christ and into eternal life never remembering or holding us accountable any longer for any sin whether it is past, present or future.

David was saved, redeemed, justified by faith, regenerated (made alive unto God), had God in his daily life, had the Holy Spirit, for no one can be saved and not have the Holy Spirit abiding within them!

In other words, we get a new identity. Sinners are turned into Saints.

In no way am I advocating sinless perfection. Our flesh or our fallen or old man, which ever phrase you prefer, still produces sin. When we do, we bring those sins to the light and confess them, but not in the sense that they have NOT already been forgiven. Jesus died ONCE for those sins (past, present, and future). No re-crucifying Jesus again, and again and again by acting like you haven’t been forgiven. You have. The O.T. High Priests had to sacrifice the lambs daily, but Jesus sacrifice was once. It is finished. We have been born again. We are new creations.

Paul called us Saints. Peter called us Saints.

Even though we are new creations, we still live in unregenerate, fallen bodies and sin dwells in them.

We confess those sins to the Lord and to each other when need be, but those sins are forgiven. David confessed his sins to the Lord, but David also knew he was forgiven.

The Word teaches us not to hide our sins, but to bring them to the Lord, to the light, and confess them. As a Saint, hiding such sin brings guilt, shame, and difficulties in our lives, until we confess openly we have failed the Lord.

But, remember always, those sins are already forgiven. When we confess them we are agreeing with God that we need to seek to slay sin, stop sin, and walk in the Spirit with Him!

We don’t we start begging God to forgive us of our wretchedness. We confess and thank Him that He has hidden them under His blood and never to be remembered again. The idea of being laden down with sin and failures, and thinking we are wretched, terrible, awful sinful wicked people is to “smear” God and His message and Jesus’ finished work done for us on the cross. We are not under wrath, not under condemnation, not under shame and disgrace, not under sin’s power, not under Satan’s control. We are not to be depressed, or shamed, or feel lost because we sinned.

Let us agree with God that we are His righteous saints. His righteousness had been IMPUTED to our account. He lives within us and we are in Him and He in us.

The Scriptures tell us God’s heavy hand of discipline was on David until he confessed his sins.God didn’t leave him when he sinned. God didn’t leave him when he did not confess. Instead He made sure David did confess. God was always with David, as He is with us. If we try to hide our sins and not confess them, He will make a way for us to do so.

David could have been perfectly obedient for a 1000 years, but that would have not made him a bit better in the site of God than He was after confessing, for he already had ALL of his sins forgiven, PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE.

Yes, David was disciplined by the Lord. Yes, he grieved the Holy Spirit. Yes, there were consequences for his sins, especially within his own family.

But, knowing we are not under condemnation and all our sins have already been forgiven at the Cross spurs us on to serve Jesus even more and love Him even more. This is AMAZING GRACE.

Christ is in us, and we are in Him. We Abide in Christ and He abides in us! He always LOVES us, with never a lapse in that LOVE! He never leaves us and He in fact, keeps us in the faith. We can’t go in and out of fellowship with God, for He is always there.

Do you believe the word of God on this?

Lamar Carnes – A fellow believer in the journey of life on planet earth! Praise be unto God (the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost)! Amen! Selah! Maranatha!

The Holy Triune God from Heaven Sent a Savior!!!

THE OPERATION OF GOD, THE GREAT PHYSICIAN!

Introduction:

The Apostle Paul in his writings inspired by God to the body of Christ located at Colosse, speaks to them a lot about Christ. Who He was, What He did, What He is doing now. He speaks of regeneration (circumcision of the heart), putting off sin, putting to death sin in the flesh, and put on the gift of the Spirit. God’s spiritual “tools” go to work on us immediately when we are born again by the Spirit, and they continue “snipping” away throughout our life here on planet earth!

I. NOTICE WHAT AND WHERE THE NEW BIRTH TAKES PLACE!

God’s Discipline and Operations!

Colossians 2:11 reads, “In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.

Verse 13; “And you, being DEAD in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh. He has made ALIVE together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way having NAILED it to the Cross.”

Notice where the sin dwells. It is in our bodies, and many times we find the Lord referring to the flesh as our skin, bones, and organs, etc., but He also uses the term “flesh”(Greek term: Sarx), as a body of Sin dwelling in our bodies of skin and bones. HE is speaking to ME and to YOU who have been born again. So, there is a distinction between the body of sin, and the body which also carries the circumcised, new born believer! That is important to see! We are NOW alive, in Christ, but the body of flesh, both of skin and bones and organs, along with the body of sin that dwells there, is still DEAD to God and has NOT been regenerated like the New Creation Which we are right now living in the same body of flesh and bones.

LOOK UPWARD!

II. THE NEW BIRTH DIRECTS OUR ATTENTION UPWARD!

Colossians 3:1-4; “If then you were RAISED with Christ, SEEK those things which are ABOVE, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Set your MIND on things ABOVE, not on things on the earth. For you DIED, and your LIFE IS HIDDEN with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

The New man, is IN Christ, so our attention is to be toward Him and His heavenly kingdom, which is the City of God above, where our LIFE really will and is now forever to be! It is HIDDEN in Christ with God!

The next things we look for is Jesus Christ who will appear and take us to Glory, or if He delays His coming back, we shall go at our passing from here immediately into His presence for HE is now in us and we in Him!

The new man doesn’t live in Sin, but the old man of the flesh has sin abiding in it, and it seeks to do wrong, but WE through the Spirit of God in us, fight against such activities day by day! There remains some mystery in all of this, and it relates to how our senses (5) which work within these two distinct states existing in the body. But we do know this fallen state is still there in the physical body of believers and is where temptations come from; the Flesh (Sarx – Sin – Greek Term) sinful it is,and the Devil and the World system.

I have stated many times, I hate religion. Religion will slay you and turn one into a Pharisee as quick as you can hardly say the word! It will seek to make all of us moral deist’s, behavior modification workers, and actually bring so much chaos and confusion to the soul and mind we can’t hardly breathe. In my long years into this journey with Christ, some of my biggest problems have not come so much from the world, the flesh and the Devil, but rather RELIGION i.e., the local Churches and their approach to the Gospel and the word of God!

It Worked hard, and by that I mean all of those in leadership positions, and either the denominational leadership, or their Seminaries and Bible Schools also. They worked hard to make me a Legalist, and worked hard to make me think I was more of a wicked sinner, than a Saint, as God called me, after I was placed into His body, the body of Christ, the place where the children of God are, and those who are no longer classified as wicked or sinners! Yes, we were sinners but now we are called by another name(s) (saint, child of God, pure, holy, sanctified, bride of Christ, sons of God, etc!)

Again, I keep repeating, this is not teaching sinless perfectionism in the body of flesh we now have to still live in as saints. For within the body, which has not been regenerated, or made alive in Christ, we do live.

Sometimes folks may say it is just semantics but not it is not. I don’t condemn my new self, which is now in Christ at all. I don’t fight against myself, for a division like that Jesus said means, I would never stand. A house divided against itself will fall! I struggle with sin which dwells within my flesh, a un-regenerated part of my very being as a human. My new man, is now and always is a saint! The flesh is ugly and sinful but we are not!! Our regenerated hearts are clean and pure and we desire God and life in Him! If God LOOKS upon me as pure, undefiled, a saint, His child, and I call myself a wicked ungodly sinner, I deny HIM and HIS word and make Him a liar! That is a terrible thing to do! He sees me in Christ and undefiled via HIS righteousness!

This was expressed well by another brother in the faith in this way; “The …presence of sin, a power that lives in us but is NOT us. The power of sin is not the old self. The power of sin Controlled the old self. The old self was a slave to sin, while the new self is not. The flesh is all of the programming (mind-sets, attitudes, reactions) that builds up over time as a person allows sin to operate in his or her life. When we’re made new in Christ, those memory banks of how to cope with life are still in the brain. We can still resort to walking according to the flesh.

So, the Old self has been annihilated, but two interdependent operators are still at work to sway the believer toward unbelief. This is why we still sin. If expositors would teach the presence of sin and the flesh alongside the teaching of our old self as crucified, buried, and gone, they wouldn’t need to worry about anyone presuming that they teach the heresy of sinless perfection.” (The Naked Gospel).

Matthew 16:24, Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after ME, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” This is a invitation to lose one’s life and this is exactly what takes place in our life when we were born again becoming children of God and saints!

Keep your eyes upon Jesus and flee to Him when tempted. For our old man died that is not alive and risen, and is no longer under its rule and reign! Jesus REALLY DOES SAVE!

III. THE NEW BIRTH IS THE START OF OUR SANCTIFICATION WITHIN THE FLESH IN WHICH SIN STILL RESIDES!

Each new born saint needs to realize that when God pardons us, when God saves us, when God sends His Holy Spirit to dwell in us, and we are placed into Christ Jesus, we are now entering into the battle and warfare against sin!

I Thessalonians 4:3 reads, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification, that you should abstain from sexual immorality………for God did not call us unto uncleanness but in holiness.”

God has made our soul and spirit and innermost being and also using the term ‘heart’, totally new. Regenerated means to come to Life! The new birth means we have a new identity now because we are new. We have the following spiritual work done to us and in us; regeneration (bringing to life spiritually); conversion; born again experience; a pardoned and purified heart, soul and spirit which are placed INTO Christ and also the Holy Spirit’s presence, not to speak of the Father God and His presence. We really are NEW creations!

However, one part of the innermost heart of the believer has not been made a new creation. That is the Flesh where Sin (Sarx – Greek word) lives and abides.

Due to that we now enter into warfare and battles which rage off and on during our lifetime here. We are called to suffer for Jesus, but also we are called into the spiritual battle which will rage on and on until Jesus comes or we go to be with Him!

In that battle God gives us all the propre spiritual equipment and weapons to fight it and be victorious on the battlefield as we embrace them. Things like prayer, faith, the written word hidden in our hearts, meditation, plus dependance totally upon the Holy Spirit and the word of God to do our battles for us! Embracing their power we can see victory, and not embracing these things will bring many defeats, but remember, OUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN US, AND WE ARE SONS OF GOD, CHILDREN OF GOD, AND SAINTS NOW!

A key test that we are possessing the Holy Spirit and have Christ in our hearts, is that we HATE sin, we go to war against our Sin(s), and we fight the good fight of faith daily. Success is not always going to happen because we are weak and we fail to in our flesh to obey His word. Clinging habitual sins and even good things that weigh in upon us, can hinder our sanctification of the flesh! Remember again, our new man, the born again person we are, is Sanctified, and Holy now, but not the flesh! It is important to remember who we are now. Saints in a fallen body! There is a dichotomy there but yet, a awareness and understanding of sin and holiness going on all the time because of how God has chosen to deal with us now before we go to heaven to be with Him!

If we think all will be a bed of roses since we were saved, we have been not properly taught these matters. We are NOW soldiers in a spiritual battle of great consequences and matters of life and death, and honor and glory toward our Lord and Savior Jesus during all of it! So, let us go forth carrying the Sword of the Spirit, the word of God, and use it to Slay Sin and the world, and the Devil. His sword will conquer! His Spirit will win! Trust in Him saint of God, for He cares for you and Loves you and will never leave or forsake you! The battle is HIS! We can’t do it without Him being in charge!! Rest in Him! Looking forward to His soon return!

BY LAMAR

GRACE! WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH ABOUT THIS AWESOME DOCTRINE? – LESSON 2

GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER ALL

The book of Galatians reveals to us that Jesus our Lord was born under the Law. The Gospel writings are based mainly upon Christ Jesus living among the Jews and doing His ministry under the Old Covenant. He clarified much of the perversions about the Law that existed, and at the end of the Gospel narratives the New Covenant begins.

INTRODUCTION:

As Hebrews tells us, the Old Covenant (Testament) wasn’t replaced by the NEW until Jesus’ DEATH. I say replaced, because it was, but it can be also thought of the Fulfillment of God’s plan and purpose.

So, the gospels are a history of Jesus’ ministry with Jews BEFORE THE New goes into effect.

Any belief system or systematic theology writings, statement of faith or confessions of faith, that doesn’t take this into account will leave a Christian totally bewildered and confused in their studies of the word of God.

Trying to Mix Jesus’ teachings directed to Pharisees and zealous Jews with the Epistles will result in great confusion, and incorrect interpretations of truth. Jesus tells people to cut off their hands, to pluck out their eyes, and to be perfect and holy like God. He tells them their own righteousness must be better than the Pharisees. What He was doing was to discourage those in that day as they work to achieve righteousness through the Law.

Those things just could not come about under the LAW. In fact, He was looking forward to the moment He could reveal to them how true righteousness would come about, that is, under the Gospel of Grace through faith in Him and His death, burial and resurrection! His righteousness imputed to their account and no more striving to keep the law which was not designed to provide righteousness at all.

I. GRACE HAS BEEN MENTIONED A LOT BY THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH.

It has been a constant theme of our talk and our prayers. Hymns down through the years have been written about Grace, and some of the finest ones around contain this great truth.

People have fought and died for grace down through our history. Paul fought for it against the Judaizers. Augustine fought the Pelagians, the Reformers fought the Scholasticism of the day, and the spiritual descendants of Paul and Augustine and Reformers have been fighting Romanism and Pelagianism teachings every since.

Paul’s testimony and ours and theirs has been; “By the Grace of God I am what I am” – 1 Corinthians 15:10; and our rule of life is, “I do not frustrate the grace of God.” – Galatians 2:21.

II. NO GRASP OF GRACE IS PREDOMINANT TODAY!

Lip service is given to grace, but when it comes down the really embracing it and loving it, we find most do not think it is important, or at least not necessary for them in their lives today. When I speak of this, I am thinking of what REAL GRACE means, not the watered down version being taught today in many circles. It isn’t that folks fight against the concept of Grace, but rather, it has no real meaning to them as they understand it. It seems beyond their comprehension.

There are four distinct crucial truths about the doctrine of Grace, what it really means, that must be acknowledged and felt, and in one’s very heart, and if they are not, it is impossible one can have a clear faith in God’s grace.

These truths are listed by J. I. Packer as follows:

  1. THE MORAL ILL-DESERT OF MAN!

Modern men and women, …….naturally incline to a high opinion of themselves. Material wealth is more important than moral character. ……refusing to admit there is anything real seriously wrong with them they go forward on their journey of life. They tend to dismiss a bad conscience, thinking such is just a unhealthy psychological problem. There daily life consisting of such things as drinking alcohol in excess, gambling, reckless driving, sexual laxity, black and white lies, ——dirty reading and things watched concerning evil deeds, and many other things, as they are at heart a very decent and good person. They imagine God is just like they are. It never enters their minds that God considers them fallen creatures, guilty, and unclean. Condemnation and wrath from Him is never considered.

2. THE RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE OF GOD!

Willingness to tolerate evil of all sorts should be ignored, and only punished as a last resort. They see such ideas as virtues. But God states otherwise. He insists that in His goodness He has made a moral world, one in which Retribution is a basic fact of life as breathing is. God is the Judge of all the earth. He will do right at all costs!

3. THE SPIRITUAL IMPATIENCE OF MAN!

The modern man has a belief that will guarantee God’s acceptance of them in the end, whatever they may have done in the past. This is because their pagan ideology teaches them, that man can repair their own relationship with God by putting God in a position where HE cannot say NO anymore. In fact, they are like the old adage of the potter and the clay, they “consider God having a Wax nose, and they can form and fashion that nose as they see fit.”

However, God will have none of it! Romans 3:20 states, “No one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law”, even His law and certainly not man’s produced laws.

4. THE SOVEREIGN FREEDOM OF GOD!

Modern paganism cloaked in the garbs of real true religion of some sort, thinks, that God is somehow obliged to love and help us, with little thought of our deserving it does not exist! We do not deserve any help, any forgiveness any benefits from God. Yet HE does grant grace to unworthy sinners every day! Not because of being in need of doing such, but only because HE wishes to do so! It is for HIS good pleasure and He has purposed to have a people for His Son Jesus, called the Bride of Christ.

Here is the Biblical fact to the contrary of the above thought; The God of the Bible does not depend on any human creature for His well-being. See: Psalm 50:8-13 and Acts 17:23. He is not bound or obligated to any sinner, which all humanity is considered as such. We can only expect from Him justice, because Justice is demanded by a Holy God who always does right. Sin demands justice.

So, God in His mercy, states, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,….”! It is HIS free choice to make such a act upon those who are unworthy. He makes the free choice, not man! An individual’s destiny is based on His choice not man’s choice. And that choice flows from His Love toward them in and through the Gospel of Grace. Grace is the source of pardon for Sin. But again, no obligation, but rather, a personal Choice by God to save Some! Not all, but some! So, submit to God through Christ, hear His call, sense His drawing, and know His convicting Spirit about sin and unbelief. Turn in repentance and faith and trust in Jesus and what He did and Who He was providing this through HIS great Love to unworthy sinners like me and many other down through history. He is the Sovereign Powerful Almighty God, let us bow to Him in humility and confess our Pride and arrogance and independence which is rebellion!

by Lamar

(Some thoughts derived from the wonderful work produced by J.I. Packer, Knowing God) Recommend this great writing by a dedicated servant of Christ.

GRACE! WHAT DOES THE BIBLE ACTUALLY TEACH ABOUT THIS AWESOME DOCTRINE? LESSON ONE!

GOD IS LOVE AND BRINGS US PEACE THROUGH CHRIST!

INTRODUCTION:

The following lessons are designed to instruct the body of Christ world-wide about the meaning of the Gospel of Grace. What it actually means is clear from the scriptures. What you will read is opposite from the majority of the denominations and Churches beliefs today. They either are back under the Law, thus under a curse, believing a false Gospel, or they are misrepresenting the Doctrines of Grace, by fostering a life of sin being no problem because they think all don’t have Jesus as Lord, but only Savior.

Both concepts are false, a lie! Many may hear this for the first time, or many will hear it and be totally shaken because they have believed a lie in a congregation they thought was really a Gospel preaching Church. Studying Church history you will find periods of time when the Gospel was totally perverted and only a few were teaching the truth, thus they were persecuted and even killed for doing so.

A WORD CONCERNING THE LAW!

IMPORTANT STATEMENT: When I speak about he Law, may it be always remembered that a true saint and follower of Jesus who believes absolutely in the New Covenant of Grace, does not reject the Law, does not consider it wrong or evil, but to the contrary, we believe about the law exactly what Jesus said about it in Matthew chapters 5 through 7. The Law is Good, the Law reflects God’s morality and character and purposes etc.! We lift it up, we put it high up on the proper place it should be, so I want all to know I am not antinomian one bit! However, having stated that, these words about the Law in Matthew 5, 6, and 7, were directed to the JEWS only and were spoken to them reflecting what the true meaning of the law was, the 613 and the MOsaic Law, which was, to show that that LAW could not save, was not designed to save a soul or sanctify a soul, because it was not designed for such! It was designed to show how terrible bad off a human being was before God and how much he or she needed Grace of God because they were not able to even begin to keep those laws!

The LAW is now laid aside, it is NOT used in our lives to get us into heaven only the Gospel of Grace does that. It is not to be used for sanctification either for God does that by and through Grace. We are driven away from the Law to Jesus who kept the Law and IN HIM we live and have our being through the Spirit of God in who we walk! We are forgiven for all of the breaking of the laws both past, present and future. So, we let the Law do its thing among the pagans of the world which it condemns and makes some whom God calls and chooses turn to Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior escaping hell and wrath and condemnation.

I. FULFILLING THE LAW IS SOMETHING THAT GOD DID IN CHRIST! ITS FULFILLMENT ISN’T AN ONGOING EVENT IN THE LIVES OF BELIEVERS TODAY. GOD SET US FREE FROM THE LAW, SO THAT WE’RE NOT UNDER IT OR SUPERVISED BY IT. – (GALATIANS 3:25.)

THE HOLY SPIRIT ISN’T MOTIVATING US TO KEEP THE MOSAIC LAW, NOR DO WE CONSULT THE LAW AS OUR GUIDE FOR DAILY LIVING. THIS IS WHY WE HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT IN US INSTEAD.

“BUT IF YOU ARE LED BY THE SPIRIT, YOU ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW” – (GALATIANS 5:18). ALSO, IF GOD WERE MOTIVATING US TO ADHERE TO THE LAW, IT WOULD BE THE ENTIRE LAW, NOT PART OF IT. AROUND 613 LAWS AND THEN 10 COMMANDMENTS. IMAGINE WHAT THE HOLY SPIRIT’S TUTELAGE WOULD BE LIKE IF HE WERE MOTIVATING US TO OBEY HUNDREDS OF MOSAIC REGULATIONS AND THE 10 COMMANDMENTS.

I believe it’s quite clear that believers should have no relationship with the law. Romans 7 explains that we’ve DIED TO THE LAW, and now we’re married to ANOTHER. God views a return to law-based living as spiritual adultery. Living by rules is cheating on Jesus!! ***

CONCLUSION OF LESSON 1:

Galatians 2:20 reads, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. We were not designed to live by the Jewish law, religious rules, a moral code, or even Christian “principles”. Receiving and transmitting Christ’s life is superior to all other views and systems. Christ lives within us. We are in Him and He is in us! That is a permanent relationship that will never end! God is in us! He will not forsake us even if we sin. Our sins in fact, were forgiven and removed from us and from HIS sight, even designed to be so before creation. Those were past sins, present sins, and future sins. When Christ died and rose again, all of our sins were future. All of them. Does that mean we should go on sinning if Grace abounds to all of us?

NO, Paul the Apostle states, for how can one who is dead to sin live any longer under its rule and reign. So, upon our new birthday, God has made us a new creation or creature. We have been totally and completely forgiven and our nomenclature is now “saints! The Apostle Paul and the Apostle John both stated that if we are IN CHRIST the SEED, it is no longer I that sins, but sin itself that dwells in our flesh, our bodies.

We the regenerated, made alive saints, are pure, holy, sanctified, regenerated, ALIVE in Christ as much as we will ever be as for as our souls, our spirits, and our heart go! We do have a current Pure, Regenerated New Heart! Sin resides in the Flesh, our carnal nature, which has NOT been regenerated yet.

We are constantly putting to death sin in the flesh, if we are sons of God and have the Spirit of God in us. Our new nature, is a partaker of the Divine nature. So, sin and the new Divine nature don’t mix, and we are in Christ free from Sin! Yet it dwells in our fallen nature, the old man, the carnal part of our non-regenerated being. Sanctification now consists of the spiritual warfare with the Flesh, where sin dwells. Our new man is already Sanctified at the New Birth and is NOW in Christ. So, in this body with sin, we fight it all of our life on planet earth, through the Spirit and the word of God, through faith in the Blood of Jesus. Many victories, and to many failures for sure. But we are SAVED Saints! That is our position. —–(by Lamar)

Some material from: Dr. Andrew Farley – The Naked Gospel! ***