Monday, November 20, 2017

Thank You Lord Jesus

 The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Taken from the Greek, the word everything means; all things; every kind or variety; in the highest degree; the maximum; with all boldness. The Holy Spirit is our helper and comforter (John 15:26) and no matter what circumstances of life we may find ourselves facing, let us remember that He is with us always. The attitude of giving thanks for every believer should go beyond Thanksgiving Day, which we celebrate this year on November 23, 2017. Simply put, Thanksgiving is not just a holiday every fourth Thursday in November where believers join with family and friends and share what they are thankful for, but everyday ought to be Thanksgiving Day for believers and as Paul tells us "In everything give thanks."

The Psalmist says, "Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations." (Psalm 100) One of the things that we see concerning giving thanks, is, "Make a joyful shout to the Lord." For most there seems to be no problem with shouting at sports events or even various forms of entertainment, but what about shouting thank you to the Lord. As we see in the beginning of this Psalm, our lives are meant to be joyful. God wants us to get excited about who He is. We all need to exercise the fruit of joy and shout joyfully to God. He has won the victory for us through our Lord Jesus Christ.

We also see that we are to, "Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing." The word serve not only indicates to labor, but also to worship as we see "Come before His presence with singing." The usage of the word gladness talks of glee; exceeding gladness; joyfulness; rejoicing. The reasons for this are obvious. Jesus has saved me; He is merciful to me; He lives in me; He is a present help in time of trouble; He is healer; deliverer; provider; He loves me without conditions; He will not cast me away; on, and on, and on. Just keeping these things in mind and confessing them at all times should cause us to serve the Lord with gladness and with a song coming forth from our lips.

Next, we are called to, "Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture." This verse shows three of the many attributes of God. He is Lord. We are to let Him be Ruler, Master, Lord of our lives. He is Creator. When a person creates something, though we simply use the created things of God to invent or make things, that person is greater than the thing created and they have every right over that which was made. (Romans 9:20) The Apostle Paul tells us, "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) He made us; We are His. He is the our Shepherd. He guides us to the place of security, plenty and rest. Like sheep, we are to be totally dependent on God.

Next, we are to "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations." Here is the epitome of what Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, the kind of thanksgiving that flows out of a thankful heart. In Luke chapter seventeen we see a heart of thanksgiving revealed through a Samaritan who was healed of leprosy by Jesus.

"Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off.  And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-17)

Notice, that out of the ten lepers, the Samaritan was the only one who returned to Jesus, "and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. In doing so, he was showing us just how thankful he was for what Jesus did for him.  Why? "For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations." Let's be honest, Jesus has done exceedingly great things for us, we, more so than the Samaritan, should be thankful to God for what He is and what has done for us. So, this Thanksgiving with all the preparations, events and excitement, let us be truly thankful, with shouts of joy; with gladness; with thankfulness and gratitude; and with a heart dependent on Him. Happy Thanksgiving...

Monday, November 13, 2017


Did you know that every believer has been recreated for the habitation of God's glory? The glory of God was a part of man's being in creation, and it is also the inheritance of every child of God. Jesus reveals in His prayer for all believers, "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one." (John 17:22) What a wonderful prayer and truth. When the Bible speaks of God's Glory, it is referring to His very presence. To enter into His presence, is to receive all that He is and has, such as, His love, His grace and His divine power. It is His power, which transforms lives by healing, delivering, providing etc.. It also reveals His majesty. Yet many believers have never experienced God's presence where these things manifest. Many are settling for far less in their relationship with God.

The glory of God, is the spiritual atmosphere of heaven, like air is the physical atmosphere of earth. Because the glory is the essence of who God is, everything is complete in His glory, nothing is incomplete. Looking at creation and especially the Garden of Eden, we see this very thing. Everything in the animal and vegetation realm were made in complete form with the ability to reproduce after it own kind. (Genesis 1:11-13, 20-25) This same glory was the life and environment in which the first man, Adam, lived. God created Adam, out of the dust of the earth, and gave him His "breath of life." (Genesis 2:7) Adam was never an infant, a child, or a teenager. He did not have to undergo the growth process that his offspring, or we ourselves experience. The same was true for the woman. They were created and formed as fully mature adults.

In creation, we can see that in God's glory, again, His presence everything is complete and every need that man could ever possibly have, was met. Therefore, we can say without question, the same applies even today for humanity. However, it can only be realized by faith to those who confess Jesus as Lord and receive Him as Savior. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us,  "and you are complete in Him, (Christ) who is the head of all principality and power." (Colossians 2:10) In God's glory we can expect healing, deliverance, and miracles (even creative miracles, such as new organs being formed and even lost body parts completely restored), simply because this is the heart of God of humanity.

Think about this way, Jesus, though surrounded by numerous people, when a woman with a issue of blood stretched out her faith, came behind Him and touch His garment, virtue, glory, power, flowed and she was instantly healed.  (Mark 5:25-30) When the leper approached Jesus, he says to Him, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean. Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed. Immediately his leprosy was cleansed." (Matthew 8:2-5) These wonderful things flow forth in God's glorious presence. Again, this is the heart of our Heavenly Father.

Looking back to the Garden, when man was first created, there was no sickness, poverty, or death because, in God's glory, there is no sickness, poverty, or death. Not only were none of these things present, man himself had no knowledge of them. The Psalmist tells us, "The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the Lord..." (Psalm 97:5) If the mountains melt like wax in the presence of the Lord, then sickness, poverty, death, etc., will also melt, that is, will vanish! Yet, after man sinned by rebelling against God, he had to be removed from God's presence, and he began to experience these dreadful things. (Genesis 3:23-24)

To comprehend what it means to live in God's glory, let's begin by looking at the contrast between the environment in which man lived, in the Garden of Eden before the fall and the environment in which he lived on the earth after the fall. In Genesis one, every aspect of creation on the earth was to prepare the perfect environment, the Garden of Eden, in which God would place man. The word Eden means, pleasure. The word garden means, enclosure and comes from a root word meaning to hedge about, that is, something that protects, defends, covers, or surrounds. When we are in God's glory, it is a pleasure (actually a pleasure beyond human comprehension) and we are protected, surrounded by His presence.

Tragically, man's existence in God's glory did not last. Adam and the woman sinned by choosing to go against what God had told them by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. As a result, they were disconnected from the life of God and were exiled from Eden which, subsequently meant, from God's glory. The very thing that connected them to God, the very thing that gave them direct contact with God, had now become enveloped in their flesh, that is, the mind, will, emotions (the soul) and their body. In other words, man's spirit no longer dominated his soul and body, but now his five senses became the dominating factor of his life. In a sense, he was no longer a spiritual man but a natural man. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14)

When Adam and the woman sinned, they died spiritually. However, it took 930 years for Adam's body to stop functioning. (Genesis 5:5) I have no scriptural reference, but I believe the glory of God that was present during creation did not simply leave the earth when Adam sinned, but a residual of God's glory was present and is what kept Adam physically alive for that length of time. I also believe that his descendants lived long lives due to the same residual glory of God that remained on the earth in those days. I say this due to the diminishing years that man experienced from the fall. I believe as time moved forward and sin did its awful destructive work, the residual of God's glory on earth dissipated and the number of years of a man's life on earth also diminished. The Psalmist records, "The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years." (Psalm 90:10)

However, we see, when a person is reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, they receive the Holy Spirit, and their spirit is instantly recreated and restored back to a, " man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." (Ephesians 4:24) Our spirits are brought from death to life, (Ephesians 2:1) and we have access to His glory. (John 17:24) Once again, through faith in Jesus Christ, man can live spiritually in the environment of heaven, that is, in God's glory. Keep in mind, we still die physically because physical death has not been eliminate yet. (1 Corinthians 15:26)

Through the meritorious work of Christ, God's glory is in every believer and Jesus' atoning blood gives us access to the Father and once again connects us with His presence while our bodies wait to be completely redeemed from death. The writer of Hebrews tells us, "For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." (Hebrews 2:10) This refers not only in heaven but by virtue of God living in us in this life, we are sons (and daughters) of His glory. In Christ, we are all carriers of God's glory wherever we go, through the indwelling Holy Spirit.

We know that God is everywhere, all the time, but He doesn't manifest Himself everywhere on earth today. He manifests Himself where He is welcomed and where people are in right relationship with Him. Although the Holy Spirit dwells in every believer, every believer must actively seek God
and His glory until the day we are in His glorious uninterrupted presence in Heaven. I want to encourage us all, to always have an insatiable desire to know Him, to know His ways and to desire His glory to manifest in, through and around us. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all...

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Heart of Things

Man is a spirit, with a soul in a physical body. His body enables him to contact the physical, natural realm. His reasoning faculties, his soul, mind, will, emotions and intellect, puts him in contact with mental things. His spirit, on the-other-hand is the only part that puts him in contact with spiritual things. Before he is born again and receives eternal life his spirit is dominated by Satan, that is, spiritual death. This makes it impossible for him to understand God's Word. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14)

Looking back in the scriptures, we see that God spoke to the Prophet Ezekiel, giving through him, to us, a remarkable prophecy, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them." (Ezekiel 36:26-27) This word is actually speaking of the new creation that would be made available through faith in Jesus Christ. God tells us that He will recreate their spirit, or heart. He says, "I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh." This suggests that a new kind of love is coming which will make them one as a body of people.

Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35) The prophetic words spoken through Ezekiel now comes to fruition through the believer, the new creation in Christ. He is going to take the stony heart of selfishness out of them, and give them His own heart of love. This new kind of love would not simply manifest through the believer towards those who love him or her only, but every person that they come in contact with.  Jesus reveals this very thing to us... 

"You have heard that it was said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:43-48) 

We also see in Ezekiel's prophecy, "I will put a new spirit within you." This is the promise of God Himself indwelling the believer. Jesus reaffirms this, "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you." (John 14:16-18) God indwelling the believer is what makes him a new creation. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Peter tells us concerning the believer, "having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever." (1 Peter 1:23) Peter tells us of this new person, "rather let it be the hidden person (man) of the heart." (1 Peter 3:4) It is here that we are given a title for the recreated human spirit. He is called the "hidden man of the heart." He is the new creation. He is the man, the real person. 

The physical body is not the man, it is the temporary dwelling place for the man. It is the home of the five senses. The soul is not not the man, it is simply the part that the five senses work through giving him knowledge and causing him to respond to the world around him. The brain would lie dormant, it would be inactive, if the five senses did not function. All of the knowledge that is taught in our colleges, universities and technical schools has come to man through these five channels. The only way that man can obtain knowledge, or an education, prior to becoming a new creation, is through these five senses. 

The Apostle Paul tells us, "For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man." (Romans 7:22) "Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day." (2 Corinthians 4:16) "That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man." (Ephesians 3:16) In these scriptures we see that the hidden man is called the "inward man." In either case, the "hidden man" is the man. The outward, or the visible man, is the one that we see in the physical realm. It is the inward man who gives the outer man either his attractiveness or his unpleasantness. (2 Corinthians 2:15-16)  

Therefore, know that God deals with the inward man and not the outer man, that is, spiritual things are unveiled to the hidden man of the heart, the recreated spirit. Jesus tells us, "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24) Now we can see man as being in Gods class. God is Spirit, man is a spirit. God is an eternal Spirit, man is an eternal spirit. He is capable of receiving the nature of God. (Ephesians 4:24) He is capable of loving God. (1 John 4:19) He is capable of loving like God. (Romans 5:5) He is capable of becoming a child of God. (John 1:12) 

From the beginning man was created in the image and likeness of God, that is, spiritual likeness. He lost that image in the fall, but it is restored in the new creation through faith in Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul speak of the inward man also as the "new man." He tells us, "And that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:24), that is, the image and likeness of God. Peter says it this way, "you may be partakers of the divine nature." (2 Peter 1:4)   

As we see, the body is simply the home, or dwelling place, of the spirit. The recreated human spirit wishes to communicate its newfound joy to those about it. Hidden away as it is in the human body, it has no way of communication but through the five senses. This is why Paul tells us, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:1-2) and, "that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind." (Ephesians 4:22-23) 

Therefore, the first thing that must be done after one is recreated is to bring these five senses into subjection to the recreated human spirit, and God's Word. When this is done the mind will be renewed. Although a person is born again, they still possess the same mind and body that had been under the dominion of Satan. This is the reason that it is so important to renew the mind and bring it into harmony with the recreated spirit. You must bring it into subjection to this new self that has come into being. The trouble with the majority of believers is that their minds have never been renewed. The believers mind will never be renewed until they begin to believe and act upon God's Word. 

So, let us "move on to perfection" in Christ allowing the Holy Spirit to get to the heart of things, so that "all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." 

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Desire of The Father

One of the greatest desires of our Heavenly Father is to reproduce Himself in every one of His children. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul reveals, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17) The believer is a new creation. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Peter reveals, "by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." (2 Peter 1:4)  The old satanic nature that we all had before receiving Christ as Lord and Savior has been completely done away with and now we are partakers of the "divine nature," the very nature and life of the Father.

The very genius of Christianity is the ability of God to build Himself into us through His Word, so that in our daily walk we live like Jesus. Paul tells us, "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3:18) "My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you." (Galatians 4:19) As we see, the Father wants to reproduce Himself in us. However, let us keep in mind that the process of building Christ into one may be very slow, but the results are living as Jesus lived. The Father wants to make Jesus men and women out of us. Look at the reality of this, "[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight." (Philippians 2:13 AMP)

The Father is actually building His love, His righteousness, His strength, His wisdom, His very self into our recreated spirits. He does this by the Holy Spirit through His Word. It is not simply the knowledge of the Word, but it is the Word that is built into us, implanted into us and becoming a part of us that counts. (James 1:21) As you study the Pauline Epistles you will see the vast revelation given to Paul concerning this and become convinced that the ultimate of every one of those Epistles is the building of the life of Jesus into every believer.  The Holy Spirit through the Apostle John reveals, "... as He is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4:17) The Father's plan for building Himself into us is wonderful. We are to take Jesus' place. We must learn to act in His stead. We are to be His representatives. (John 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:18) Here is another look at the Father's glorious plan for His children...

"For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins." (Colossians 1:9-14) PTL!!!

For many, these things seem almost impossible to be true. They seem beyond what we could ever expect from God. However, let us receive the truth and know, that the Father loves us more than we love ourselves. He is more ambitious for our success than we are. It is simply faith in His ability that puts us over. The Bible tells us, "Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]." (Ephesians 3:20 AMP)  Also keep in mind that the Father does not force these things upon His children. He doesn't drive us. It is simply the Father's ambition, His desire to make us successful and to enable us to enjoy the riches that belong to us through Christ our Lord.

It comes down to our attitude towards God's Word as well as our willingness to yield to the Holy Spirit's work in us. Jesus tells us, "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall." (Matthew 7:24-27)

Jesus is saying that the doer of the Word dug deep and built his house upon the rock, God's Word, and it made his house able to stand against any storm that might beat against it. Jesus also tells us, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing...If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you." (John 15:5, 7) As a branch, we cooperate with the Vine and bear His fruit; we are laboring together with Him; we are operating together with Him; we are truly identified as one with Him and the Father is glorified. In us, the Lord has found a place for His ability to energize and act here on the earth. We are growing in Grace, and are growing in the knowledge of God, in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

As we saw above, the climax of the Father's heart's desire for us is, "...the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light."  However, though these are great and precious promises and though every believer is in Christ, it does not mean His Word is in every believer. So, let Him live His Life in us, that we begin to enjoy our share of our inheritance in Christ. Let us draw from the dividends on what He has done for us and in us. Let us come to enjoy the riches of His Grace. Let us let His Word have full control over every part of our life; let it have dominion over every phase of our thinking. Jesus said, "...If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32) Let the desire of the Father loose in us, so that we can look and act like Jesus. Amen?

Monday, October 23, 2017

Where Is Your ID

To seal man's redemption, making it both eternal and available to all mankind, we see that Jesus our Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14) ascended into heaven, with His own blood obtaining eternal redemption for us on the basis of His substitutionary death and resurrection on our behalf. "Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption...But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified." (Hebrews 9:12, 10:12-14)

When Christ sat down at the Father's right hand, man had been perfectly redeemed because he had been legally identified with Christ in His redemptive work. (Romans 4:25, 5:1-2) Now man, by faith in Jesus Christ has a new identity. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17) Let us look at how the believers new identity from spiritual death to life in Christ Jesus unfolds. To discover these thing, we look to the Pauline epistles, where we find the greatest revelation of the believers identification in Christ.

" Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin." (Romans 6:6) "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20) On the cross, God made Jesus to become sin for us. (2 Corinthians 5:21) It was our spiritual death and our sin nature that He bore. He became identified with us on the cross as our Substitute.

"For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection...Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him." (Romans 6:5, 8) When Jesus died, we died with Him. First, spiritual death was laid on His spirit, then He died physically, in the same manner that Adam died. Spiritual death is separation from God. It was spiritual death that eventually brought physical death to Adam and all people. (Romans 5:12) Jesus speaks of Himself to the people around Him at the tomb of Lazarus, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die." (John 11:25-26) Faith in Christ removes the sting of spiritual death and gives us eternal life.

So, as a result of His crucifixion mankind can now find their identity with and in Christ. When Jesus died, we died with Him. As His spirit left His physical body and went into hell we were identified with Him. Paul tells us, "Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death..." (Romans 6:4) "Having been buried with Him in baptism..." (Colossians 6:10) Baptism in these verses is a type of our burial with Christ. Though His body was laid in the tomb, (Matthew 27:57-61), His spirit suffered in hell as He paid the penalty that was due man. He could adequately pay man's penalty and meet the demands of justice because on the cross, He had become identified with man. 

Keep in mind, the penalty He paid was not His, but man's. In the mind of God, it was you and I there in that place of torment, bearing the judgment that was due us. On the basis of this identification the person who confesses with their mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and takes Him as Savior, receives the redemptive work of Christ, and will not go to hell but goes free. However, the person who refuses Christ's redemption on his behalf must go there. Also, always remember that hell was never meant for man. It is a person's freedom of choice to refuse God's redemptive work though Christ, that puts him there. In other words, a person can chose hell over heaven, darkness over light, Satan over Christ.  Therefore, it is a person's decision as to where they go for eternity, not God's.

Next, we see the satisfaction of man's penalty paid for by Christ in hell. The Apostle Paul sums the meritorious work of Christ this way, "God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory." (1 Timothy 3:16) In hell, when justice was satisfied, Jesus was "justified (declared righteous) in spirit." Now the Father could declare man righteous and legally freed from spiritual death. Now the Father had the right to impart life, His own nature, to the spirit of man. (2 Peter 1:4) Notice, "even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). (Ephesians 2:5) "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." (Colossians 2:13)

Hell could not hold Him. When man's sin was paid for by Jesus, Peter tells us, "For You will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption, (His body in Joseph of Arimathea's tomb). (Acts 2:27) Paul tells us, "and what is the exceeding greatness of His (God's) power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,  
far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come." (Ephesians 1:19-21)

Now that man has been redeemed, made alive, declared righteous in Christ, the Father has "raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:6) Now it is up to us, all believers. Our Heavenly Father desires us to take what is legally ours and in the Name of Jesus put every enemy of ours under our feet that we might reign as kings with Him. (Romans 5:17) The identification of man with Christ has destroyed the work of Satan in humanity. This means that no person on planet earth ever needs be identified with the first Adam, but can live, can have abundant life now through Jesus Christ, the second Adam. 

So, let us rid ourselves of the lies of still being sinners, of never being able to please God, of unworthiness, of failure and weakness. Let us, "Put off the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, (our identification with the first Adam) and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man (our identification with Jesus, the second Adam) which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." (Ephesians 4:22-24) PTL...

Monday, October 16, 2017

Freedom Has Come

What does it mean to be free? What are we free from? Well, freedom comes in various forms. From a worlds perspective, freedom is the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. Constitutionally, the people of the United States may boast in this definition of freedom. However, is this true freedom? Only in minor respects. Biblically speaking, freedom is the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved to anyone or anything. Although, the United States has more constitutional freedoms than any other country on planet earth, these very freedoms are being eroded by the one who imprisons and enslaves many of the people of the earth as well as many American, that is, Satan.

The Bible describes man as the only thing in all creation that was created in the image and likeness of God the Creator. Not only was man created in God's image and likeness, but God gave him dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. (Genesis 1:26) King David tells us, "You (God) have crowned him (man) with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands." (Psalm 8:5-6) In other words, man was (is) God's crown jewel above all else created, even angels. The freedom that man lived in, in the Garden of Eden, was a complete freedom. He had no bounds, no limitations at all. But we know what happened. Satan caused the woman to reason, doubt, that she was already like God, so she fell prey to his seduction. In turn, Adam, the federal representative of mankind chose the woman over obedience to God and forfeited all, which included himself and all future mankind. Now, mankind had become imprisoned, enslaved, under Satan's dominion.   

Man was now lost, spiritually dead and unable to fellowship with God. However, God in His great love in which He loved man, did the most amazing, astonishing, stupendous thing that ever happened in the history of mankind, He became a man. (John 1:1, 14) "But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son..." (Galatians 4:4) God in His providence had now brought redemption to mankind. In the midst of mankind's condition of despondency, failure, rebellion and hopelessness, there came relief. Only God knew what man's need demanded, and only God could meet that demand. It was the Incarnation.

Man throughout the ages has hungered instinctively for three things. He has desired fellowship with God; he has desired to possess the life of God, eternal life; and he has desired the strength, and ability of God. Every ancient human religion has tried to answer this cry.  Even today, man still hungers for the same. All of the knowledge that our educational institutions of learning have provided has not eliminated from man's spirit this hunger. Every modern human religion tries to answer this hunger. It is not only the educated who seek to fill this hunger, but every level of humanity, in every society. It has been the same for every man from the time man died spiritually, until the present day, he has hungered for union with Deity

It has been our tendency, when thinking of Christ's coming to earth as a man, to dwell upon His self-denial, His sufferings, in coming to earth from Glory. Yet, as we know Him better, we believe that it was a joy to Him (Hebrews 12:2) who so loved man (John 3:16) and so desired man's fellowship, (1 John 1:3) to dwell on earth among men that He might give to man, who had never known his Creator, a true conception of Him. (John 14:1-11) How clearly Christ realized and appreciated this phase of His mission. The Apostle John said of Him, "No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. (John 1:18) How different was His life from the lives of the greatest philosophers and religious teachers before Him. They had come as seekers of the truth. He came as the revelation of the Truth (John 14:6).

Unlike fallen man, Satan had no dominion over Christ, because Christ was not spiritually dead. He walked in oneness with the Father. Although full human, His body was not mortal, that is, death doomed. He possessed a perfect eternal human body, the kind of a body that Adam had before the fall where he died spiritually, became death doomed. Therefore, as Jesus walked this earth His body was not subjected to death. It was impossible for man to have taken the life of Christ before His time had come. (John 10:18) He walked this earth free from Satan's dominion. As He walked the earth, He revealed the Father to man which is seen in His preaching, teaching and delivering them from the bondage of Satan. (Acts 10:38) Jesus said, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) In the life of Jesus, as He lived utterly free, rich and full on earth, we see revealed, the life that the Father had planned for man from the beginning.

Now comes redemption, freedom, through faith in Christ. There are two sides to redemption, the legal and the vital. The legal side is what Father did for us in Christ and the vital side is what the Holy Spirit does in us in Christ. As all mankind were partakers of Adam's death, bondage, judgment and all that spiritual death made him, now God has redeemed man completely from every result of Adam's treason through the identification of humanity with His Son. This is the message that comes to us by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul as recorded in Romans 5:12-21. It reveals, that if the lordship of Satan over humanity was due to the identification of humanity with Adam in his crime of treason, then it is also legally possible for the works of Satan to be destroyed by the identification of humanity with the Son of God, the second Adam. (1 Corinthians 15:45)

The Apostle Paul tells us, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21) Jesus not only bore our sins, but our sin nature itself was laid upon Him, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Christ suffered until God could justify the human race. (Romans 4:25) In the mind of God, it was not Christ who hung on the cross, but the entire human race. So each one of us may say with Paul, "I was crucified with Christ" (Galatians 2:20). 

Jesus legally put all things under His feet (that is, under His Body, the church) in His resurrection. (Ephesians 1:22-23) We, believers, are seated with Him in heavenly places. (Ephesians 2:6) In this position, that of triumph, in His Name every enemy of ours is under our feet that we might reign as kings in this life with Him. (Romans 5:17) Christ has destroyed the work of Satan (Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8) and now those who confess Jesus as Lord and take Him as Savior are completely free from, sin, sickness, poverty and all the works of the devil. We are no long slaves under Satan's rule, but masters, reigning with Christ. This is freedom

So, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." (Galatians 5:1) "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." (John 8:36) PTL...

Monday, October 9, 2017

No Worries

Worry and anxiety steals life from all people. They are synonymous in definition meaning, "a feeling of nervousness, or uneasiness, concerning an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome which causes one's mind to dwell on difficulty, troubles or uncertainty over actual or potential problems." Jesus tells us, "Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?" (Matthew 6:27) Basically, worry cannot add anything to one's life. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Peter says, "casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7) The Amplified Bible presents it this way, "Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully."

Peter is not the first person to suggest that believers should do this. We see David with the same revelation, "Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved." (Psalm 55:22) David also exposes the real problem behind worry or anxiety, "Do not fret (to be constantly or visibly worried or anxious) it only causes harm." (Psalm 37:8) Although we cannot throw away, run away from or pretend that problems do not exist, we can get rid of the anxiety that is caused by life's problems. We can refuse to be burdened down by cares. We can reject the kind of worry that disturbs our peace and distracts our mind. What can we do? Turn to God.

We find relief in God. We hand our worry over to Him so that we do not have to carry them. How do we do this? "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; the results of doing this, "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)  We pour out our anxiety, our worries to the Lord in prayer. "We cast our cares on God." When we do this, we can feel at peace. We can be calm even in the midst of times of trouble. We can experience the serenity that God promises and that Jesus exemplifies.

Peter gives us the reason why we should "cast our cares on the Lord." Because "He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully." Although Peter does not mention this, there is another reason for casting our cares on God. Let's face it, God is big enough to carry our cares for us. He is so big, He can carry all of our cares and burdens. Even the burdens of the whole world are not too much for Him. (Jeremiah 32:17) In times of trouble, let us respond to Jesus' invitation, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

Next, Peter moves on with more instruction. He tells us, "Be sober, be vigilant; because our adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8) While casting your cares upon God, do not doubt that he is able and willing to support you, but be watchful against, the devil, our foe. We should act wisely as one does when he or she senses danger. In other words, we are to be on our guard against the wiles, the schemes of the evil one who opposes us. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul warns us, "And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light." (2 Corinthians 11:14)

Sometimes Satan is represented as transforming himself into an angel of light, and sometimes, as revealed by Peter, as a roaring lion. This means, Satan puts great effort in trying to to alarm and overpower believers, trying to rob us of our faith. However, believers must remember that Satan is a defeated foe, "Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it." (Colossians 2:15) According to the Amplified; American Standard; Phillips; Rotherham; Weymouth; and Conybeare Versions of the same scripture, Jesus, spoiled; disarmed; stripped of power; exposed; shattered; empty; defeated; shook off, Satan and his evil hosts in triumph!!!

Next, Peter tells us to, "Resist him, (Satan) steadfast in the faith." We are resisting our adversary’s fight against us, by upholding and enforcing what Jesus has already accomplished for us as we also see, "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil." (Hebrews 2:14) Again, in the American Standard; Rotherham; and Conybeare Versions of the same scripture, Jesus brought to nothing, paralyzed, destroyed, Satan who had the power of death, that is spiritual death. We also see the same thing as revealed by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle John, "He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." (1 John 3:8) Again, we find in the American Standard; Phillips; and Rotherham Versions of the same scripture, Jesus, undid; destroyed; liquidated the works of the devil.

Because Satan is a defeated foe, believers are to stand firm in faith. The Apostle Paul tells us, "my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might." (Ephesians 6:10) We are to stand in the power of God's might. Paul also reveals, "Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]." (Ephesians 3:20 AMP), and, "[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight." (Philippians 2:13 AMP) PTL...

Finally, God is the God of grace. He freely forgave us our sins and paid the price with his own Son. (Ephesians 2:8) He freely gives us grace even now, grace that sustains us and upholds us. (2 Corinthians 12:9) We know that our salvation is not based on our works of righteousness. (Romans 3:26) Our salvation is based on the meritorious work and promises of Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 87:6) The Father includes us in His promise because He loves us. These truths about God should give us great comfort, great hope, great strength and increase our faith. If the God of all grace called us in Jesus Christ, then we can be assured that in times of discouragement, He will encourage us. In times of weakness, He will give us strength. When we fall down, He will pick us up. When we are tempted, He gives us a way of escape. When we fail, He will forgive us.

So, when life's problems, the wiles or schemes of the devil try us, never forget what God's Word encourages us to do, "Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully." Amen...