Grace & Peace


Monday, December 26, 2016

Freedom ( we are now free to be who God created us to be )

So where does all this liberty and freedom we've been delivered into leave us? Well, for one, we are not left alone.  (ref. Heb. 13:5 and John 14:16)  We're free to choose to be led of the Holy Spirit. We're free to serve God without fear. (ref. Luke 1:74-75) Fear can paralyze a person to the point where they don't do anything.  It's the paralysis of analysis. 

Now that we understand God's unconditional love, we can rest. (ref. Heb. 4:11) But, I find, in this rest I do more Holy Spirit led activities inspired of the Lord than I ever did before. I'm no longer consumed with my own dead works, which can take up a lot of a person's time with needless activities. Now, God has given us all gifts, talents, and passions that are as unique as we are individually. 

Perhaps you enjoy working with children, but you're wondering if this is a dead work (something you are trying to do to earn right-standing with God, rather than resting in the righteousness or right-standing with God we received freely as a gift the moment we became born-again.) This righteousness was imputed to us. Recognize that if you enjoy working with children, or any other passion which is useful for building the kingdom, this is a desire that God has put in your heart. 

The new heart we received when we became born-again is no longer deceitfully wicked. (ref. Jer. 17:9 and Ezek. 11:19) We can trust God to lead us as we draw close to him. We're free to be who God created us to be. (ref. Eph. 2:10) 

Gal. 5:1 (KJV)
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 

Gal. 5:1 (NIV)
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. 

2 Cor. 3:17 (KJV)
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 

Luke 1:74-75 (KJV)
That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Righteousness Consciousness vs Sin Consciousness

You must convince your conscience.

 We no longer have debt on our conscience because Jesus has fully paid our sin-debt. We’re to be righteousness-conscious, not sin-conscious. We are not to take on condemnation, which comes from the accuser of the brethren and his cohorts or the condemnation of the law.

In the book of Hebrews we find, “Let us throw off every thing that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Heb. 12:1b NIV) What this in essence is saying, is that even as believers, if we fail in an area, it can be easy to take on condemnation; although it’s not God condemning us. (ref. Rom. 8:1) We fight the fight of faith, that is, to know God is always for us and will never accuse us or condemn us, even when or if we fail.

Our right-standing with God is not contingent upon our behavior or performance.
(ref. Romans 3:21)

1 Peter 3:21-4:2 (KJV)
The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.  Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

 Hebrews 9:14 (KJV)
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Hebrews 10:22 (KJV)
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 9:9 (KJV)
Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;

Hebrews 1:3 (KJV)
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:

Hebrews 10:2 (KJV)
For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

1 Thes. 3:13 KJV
To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Centrality of the Cross

The Centrality of the Cross
Our union with Him
The work of the cross

The New Covenant’s future arrival is revealed prophetically by the prophet Jeremiah in chapter 31, which is a covenant God swore by oath. Heb. 7:22 NIV, states, “Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.” The New Covenant, which is proclaimed in the book of Jeremiah as a future event, is stated as present day reality in the epistle to the Hebrews and once again reads, “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the LORD. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”  And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.” (Heb. 10:16-18 NIV)

God is just in making this New Covenant because the wrath that was against mankind’s sin was placed on Jesus as our sacrifice. Jesus said in John’s gospel, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said signifying what death he should die.” (ref. John 12:32-33) But, it’s interesting to note though, that the word “men” in verse 32 is italicized. This indicates that it was added by the Bible translators. It should say, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ‘all’ unto me.” This entire passage, John 12:31-34, is in the context of judgment. Jesus is saying that when he is placed on the cross, all the judgment for man’s sin will be placed on him. The entire wrath of God toward mankind’s sin will be (was) put on him on the cross.

He would act as a lightning rod, and that is exactly what happened. The wrath of God has been satisfied by the shed blood of Jesus; by his atonement made for the sins of the world. (see 1 John 2:2) This is why we, as New Covenant believers, should no longer have fear or torment because we have been perfected by love!

As stated in John’s epistle, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18 NIV) There is no longer punishment as the Old Covenant saints experienced. That’s the “good news.” We have peace with God. And as ambassadors, God has given us the ministry of reconciliation, “that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” “For he made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Cor. 5:19, 21 NKJ)
[Excerpt from Gates: Thanksgiving Papers-pgs 88-89]

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Dead to Sin

Dead to Sin....Past, Present & Future

It's crucial for our faith, to understand that we have (past-tense) died to sin and we're told to reckon it so. (ref. Rom. 6:11, 18 & 22) This happened the moment we became born-again. 

Once... we were dead in Adam, dead in sin, but now we are alive in Jesus, alive in righteousness and indwelled by the Holy Spirit with a righteousness "right-standing with God," which is apart from our works or performance. (ref. 1 Cor. 12:13 and Rom. 3:20-21)

If a born-again Christian is struggling with a behavior and falsely thinks or believes 'I must stop this one thing, or die to this one thing - and then I'll be in right-standing with God...'

He has put the cart before the horse.

We are by faith to stand in the victory consummated at the cross. We are planted with him (Jesus) in death, we have received eternal life and we are now seated with Christ in the heavenlies. This is why the Apostle Paul is basically saying, 'You're dead to sin, and alive in Christ; therefore it's impossible for you to be dead in sin and alive in Christ at the same time. (ref. Rom. 6:2)

Rom. 6:11 KJV
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Heb. 10:2 KJV
For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 

2 Pet. 1:9 KJV
But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged of his old sins.

1 Pet. 2:24 KJV
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed. 

Heb. 1:3 KJV
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high.;

Gal. 5:19-24 KJV
Now, the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  

Col. 3:3 KJV
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 

James 1:23-25 KJV
For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and  straightway forgeteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. 

1 Cor. 6: 9-12 KJV
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Faith Object


Faith object

Our faith has to have a faith object; something or someone we put our faith in. Because of Adam, all people born on this earth, with the exception of Jesus, were born into sin. It’s not even our individual sins that caused this, but Adam’s transgression. All are born in sin; they’re dead in sin and dead in Adam. It’s inherited. Adam is referred to as the first federal head. If this is mankind’s problem, then we certainly can’t put our faith in ourselves in this fallen condition.
We would need a Savior.

That’s why Father God sent his son. The scripture says, “But when the time had fully come, God sent his son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” Gal. 4:4-5 (NIV) Under law, I’m disqualified - but by faith, through grace, I’m completely qualified. Scripture says, “the law is not of faith,” ref. Gal. 3:12a 

Jesus is now referred to as the second Adam, or last Adam, and for us who believe, is now our new federal head. (Ref.1 Cor. 15:45 and Romans 5:19)

1 Cor. 15:21 KJV
"For since by man came death, by man (Jesus was fully man and fully God) came also the resurrection of the dead."

1 Cor. 15:45 KJV
"And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening Spirit."

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Flesh vs. the Spirit

The Flesh vs. the Spirit
The battle we face.

To best describe the battle we face between the flesh and the spirit, I believe the Apostle Paul’s question found in Gal. 3:2 poses one of the greatest insights. Here I’ll use several Bible translations to illustrate:

Gal. 3:2-3 (TLB) “Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by trying to keep the Jewish laws? Of course not, for the Holy Spirit came upon you only after you heard about Christ and trusted him to save you. Then have you gone completely crazy? For if trying to obey the Jewish laws never gave you spiritual life in the first place, why do you think that trying to obey them now will make you stronger Christians?”

Gal. 3:2-3 (KJV) “This only would I learn of you, received ye the Spirit by the works of the law? Or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh?”

Gal. 3:2-3 (NLT) “Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?”

As you can see, one translation used the word ‘flesh,’ another inserts for the word flesh, ‘by your own human effort,’ and still another inserts for the word flesh, ‘trying to obey the Jewish laws.’ All three are correct and pretty much synonymous with each other. We received the Holy Spirit the moment we became born-again. Once again, before we were born-again, we could not clean ourselves up and do enough to earn salvation. We received it as a free gift after hearing the gospel which reveals the righteousness of God or our “right-standing with God,” all accomplished by the work of the cross. So, when a believer is now trying to become perfect by his own human effort, he is trying to be made perfect by the flesh. He or she is not resting in the fact that he received an imputed righteousness the moment he became born-again, a righteousness which is of God apart from the law, or without the law. (ref. Rom. 3:20-22 and Rom. 7:5) The Apostle Paul said, in his epistle to the Philippians, that he counted what he had accomplished as loss-so as to win Christ. (ref. Phil. 3:7) “and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” So understanding that the same way in which we received the Holy Spirit is the same way we walk in the Spirit, is crucial to our faith walk. (ref. Col. 2:6) Understanding this is the root. Walking in the Spirit, or understanding that we remain righteous apart from our works or performance, is the root that gives us the fruit of the Spirit. Not understanding this is the root that produces the works of the flesh. A dead work is something we do as a Christian, thinking it will put us in right-standing with God, other than receiving what has already been done for us.

[Note: Through all of this, the born-again Christian still remains the righteousness of God, but is carnal in his thinking.]

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Unconditional Love

Unconditional Love
To be loved unconditionally; accepted just as you are...
we say ‘Come as you are with all your faults.’

Unconditional love is so foreign to this world. The world’s system we have been brought up in (before being born again) is mostly conditional and in some cases has to be or else society wouldn’t function properly. The world’s system is to compare one to another or one against another. (ref. 2 Cor. 10:12) We’re okay as long as we are better than that other person. That other person was convicted as a thief; that’s never happened to me. Or that other person I heard about on tv is a murderer. I pay all my bills and even donate to the food shelf.

If God said the standard to make it into heaven was being able to jump up and touch a nine-foot ceiling, some of us could do it. But, if he changed it to a thirty-foot ceiling, that would be an impossible standard. I might be able to jump a little higher than some, and someone else could jump higher than me, but none of us could reach a thirty-foot ceiling. That’s what God did with the law; it’s an impossible standard. God said, ‘Be ye perfect as I am perfect.’ (ref. Mat. 5:48) It says in James epistle that if you’ve broken one law-you’re guilty of breaking them all. (ref. James 2:10)

Jesus Christ is the only One to have been born on earth as a man, (fully man and fully God) to have kept that standard. He fulfilled the law (ref. Rom. 10:4) and through faith in Him, the righteous requirements of the law are fully met in us. (ref. Rom. 8:3-4) But it’s not through our effort, it’s through believing. (ref. John 6:28-29) It’s by grace through faith. Unconditional love is the love that God gives. (ref. Rom. 4:5, 5:8 & 1 John 4:9-10)

God’s unconditional love toward us is what allows us to be accepted just as we are. We will truly find ourselves behaving better and treating others better after we have received His unconditional love. In John’s epistle we find, “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16 KJV)

Isa. 54:4-17 KJV
Fear not, for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more. For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee; In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee. Oh thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children. In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake, Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

1 Cor. 13:4-8 NIV
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

Monday, February 1, 2016


Children then heirs

Jesus came to reveal to us the Father heart of God. He said, “If you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father.” Jesus was speaking to Old Covenant believers who were under the law. They for the most part related to God as if he was a stern task-master who would punish any disobedience. That was their concept of God.

Before the work of the cross, the Holy Spirit had not yet been sent. The Holy Spirit would come on some at times, such as kings, prophets and judges, yet these people were not born-again, but  they were in covenant relationship with God. To be included in this covenant you had to be born a Hebrew. Now there was some provision for the foreigner, but to be automatically included in this covenant, whether male or female, you had to be born a Hebrew. If you were a male, you had to be circumcised at a certain age, or you would be excluded from the covenant and all that the covenant provided.

For most of them, they related to God through temple service and rituals, striving to keep the law their hearts were often cold. Through the law is the fear of punishment. It’s hard to relate to someone or something that you think is watching and judging your every move. You’ll probably remain distant in heart.

God relates to people through covenants. Covenants are somewhat like agreements. If I feel as though I owe someone something and I can’t pay it back, I’ll probably avoid that person or feel guilty every time I’m near them. That debt would be on my mind, probably causing me to remain distant. If these Old Covenant Hebrews broke the Old Testament law, there was a prescribed offering or sacrifice that covered that sin until the next time they fell short, but their slate wasn’t clean for very long.

Their sin debt was always on their conscience. Under the Old Covenant, for the Hebrew it meant their obedience and their offering the prescribed sacrifice if they weren’t faithful to keep the law of Moses, or else judgment came. Once again, enter Jesus and parables like the prodigal son. He revealed a loving Father who longs for us, who accepts us just as we are.

The Bible tells us if we are born-again we are children of God through faith and we can give thanks to the Father who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of his holy people. Our sin debt has been wiped clean by the work of the cross and the Spirit we received brought about our adoption to son-ship.