Grace & Peace


Sunday, April 5, 2020

Possess your Promise Land

"The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple." Ps. 119:130 KJV

The Apostle Peter rose up and said, "Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe."
Acts 15:7b KJV

The Apostle Paul's writing goes on to say, "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 2 Cor. 4:3-4, 6 KJV

Earlier Paul wrote, "And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished. But their minds were blinded; for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament; which veil is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it (their heart) shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." 2 Cor. 3:13-17 KJV (parentheses mine)

"For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness therof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God." Heb. 7:18-19 KJV

"Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." Rom. 3:31 KJV

As Christians, we still read and learn from the Old Testament, but we must know how to rightly divide the word of truth, (ref. 2 Tim. 2:15) For as further stated in 2 Timothy, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" 2 Tim. 3:16 KJV

Again, the Apostle Peter rose up and said, "that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel ,and believe." Acts 15:7b KJV

The veil that is over one's heart by the law is taken away by faith in Christ. "But that no man is justified (declared righteous) by the law in the sight of God; it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith:" Gal. 3:11-12a KJV (parentheses mine)

At this point, it might serve us well to examine what the law can do and what it cannot do; what the law is and what it is not.

The law is a standard that must be fully met if you want to attempt to use it to gain your own righteousness (right-standing with God) by your merit or human effort. For as found in the book of James, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." Jam. 2:10 KJV, (ref. Heb. 7:19) (parentheses mine)

The law is holy, just and good, but it cannot make us holy, just or good. (ref. Gal. 2:16, 3:10-14, Rom. 3:20, 8:3)

The law cannot give us life or make us righteous. (make us to have right-standing with God) (ref. Gal. 3:21-22)

The law was given so that every mouth would be silenced - if you thought or said you could attain your own righteousness (right-standing with God) by your own merit, actions or human effort. "Now we know that what things so ever the law saith, it sayeth to them who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God." Rom. 3:19 KJV

The law makes us conscious of sin. When we look at the law, we become aware of our faults and short-comings. (ref. Rom. 3:20, Heb. 9:14)

The law is the tool God uses to expose our short-comings and our inability to achieve God's standard by our own merit, actions or human effort. The law demands perfection. (ref. Jam. 2:10)

The law is the strength (or power) of sin. (ref. 1 Cor. 15:56)

The law stirs up sin. (ref. Rom. 7:5)

The law is the ministration of death. (ref. 2 Cor. 3:7, Rom. 8:2)

The law is the ministration of condemnation. (ref. 2 Cor. 3:9)

"But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, (slavery) for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust." 1 Tim. 1:8-11 KJV (parentheses mine)

The law was given to lead us to Christ that we might be justified (declared righteous) by faith. (ref. Gal. 3:24)  "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteous requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us," Rom. 8:3-4a KJV

"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth." Rom. 10:4 KJV

Again, the Apostle Peter rose up and said, "that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe." Acts 15:7b KJV

"Consequently faith comes from hearing the message, (the gospel) and the message is heard through the word of Christ." Rom. 10:17 NIV (parentheses mine) Some Bible translations say that the message is heard through the word of 'God'. Now we know that Jesus is God, but if you use the word 'God' in this passage of scripture, that would encompass the entire Bible, including the Old Testament law with its curses. And we know the law is not of faith, but the message of the gospel, the hearing of Christ, brings faith. (See Gal. 3:12)

Further, it's stated in the book of Hebrews, "For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith." Heb. 4:2 NIV

The gospel message was made of no value (or did not profit them) for many of the people who were led out of Egypt by Moses. (ref. Heb. 3:16-19) These people in a prideful or self-righteous statement said they could do (by their own merit and human effort), all that the Lord commanded. Shortly thereafter God gave them the Ten Commandments and all the subsequent laws along with them. (ref. Exod. 19:7-8, ch. 20) They agreed to a covenant whereby they said their righteousness or right-standing with God would be determined by their ability, strength and merit (human effort), to keep all of the righteous requirements of the law - to maintain the perfect standard that the law demanded. As stated in the book of Deuteronomy, "And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He hath commanded us." Deut. 6:25 KJV (ref. Rom. 8:4)

Remember the law was given that every mouth would be silenced (to silence our mouths) if we thought or said we could keep it apart from faith in Christ.

Many of the children of Israel who were led out of Egypt by Moses had a draconian mind set - and although they witnessed God's goodness and faithfulness as God honored the covenant He made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to deliver Abraham's descendents, (ref. Gen. 15:13-16) their thoughts and beliefs in their hearts of God towards them and of them toward God were very twisted and misconstrued. Of the twelve men whom Moses sent in to spy out the Promise Land, only two returned with a good report. The remaining ten spies who returned saw themselves as grasshoppers in their own site, as they looked upon the sons of A'-nak which come of the giants. The law will always make you look at yourself; your own ability and your short-comings, whereas faith puts the promise between us and our circumstance; doubt or unbelief puts the circumstance between us and the promise.

Scripture tells us that only two from that generation came into the Promise Land with the younger generation. Now remember, as discussed earlier, these people chose to put themselves under the Old Covenant of law. They chose to enter into agreement with God, saying in their pride that they could keep all the law. (see Exod. 19:7-8) And their words and actions, which maligned God's character, further revealed the condition of their hearts, saying such things as are found in Deuteronomy, "And ye murmured in your tents, and said, 'Because the Lord hated us, He hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us." Deut. 1:27 KJV Also, as found in Exodus, "And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, 'These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.'" Exod. 32:4 KJV

These people were delivered from Egypt (which represents sin) by the placing of blood on their doorposts. They put faith in the blood. (that blood foreshadowed Christ's blood) They were delivered from Pharoah and his army. (Pharoah was a cruel task-master) "And Moses said unto the people, 'Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.' And the Lord said unto Moses, wherefor criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:" Exod. 14:13-15 KJV

We too, as believers, have been delivered from sin (ref. Rom. 6:11), we continually put faith in the blood, (ref. Rom. 3:25) and we have been delivered from a cruel task-master which is the law. (ref. Rom. 7:4, Gal. 4:5) We've been delivered from the power of darkness. (ref. Col. 1:13) God broke the power of the enemy over us by "blotting out the hand writing of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it (the law written on stone tablets by the finger of God) to His cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." Col. 2:14-15 KJV We likewise have seen the salvation of the Lord.

Again, Moses said, "For the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." Exod. 14:13b-14 KJV It's difficult for us as Christians to hold our peace if we don't believe we've been delivered from the law, (a cruel task-master) which God took away - and we shall see no more forever. It's difficult to go forward and claim the promises if you think that God is a cruel task-master.

Scripture tells us, "but without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Heb. 11:6 KJV

In the wilderness, they saw how the Lord God carried them as a father carries his son, yet many did not trust in the Lord. (ref. Deut. 1:29-31) God's word says, "And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers." Deut. 6:23 KJV  This is God's heart. It's difficult to have faith in your faith object (Christ) if you believe God hates you and is wrathful and harsh toward you. This is why scripture states -

"Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression." Rom. 4:15 KJV

"And the law is not of faith:" Gal. 3:12a KJV

"Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe." Gal. 3:21-22 KJV

"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified (declared righteous) in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe:" Rom. 3:20-22a KJV (parentheses mine)

Again, we find in Hebrews, "For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." Heb. 4:2 KJV

Faith in Christ's finished work is what allows us to claim the promises. We must be trained to know the truth of our faith object, His character and nature, for after all, it is the nature of the One who made the promise which gives the promise its validity. "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are 'Yes' in Christ. And so through Him the 'Amen' is spoken by us to the glory of God." 2 Cor. 1:20 NIV

Again, Joshua, and Caleb, were the only two out of the twelve who spied out the Promise Land to return and give a good report. They were the only two, along with the younger generation, allowed to eventually enter the Promise Land. The other ten spies discouraged the hearts of the people upon returning. It's recorded in scripture "Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, "The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, He will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them." Num. 14:6-9 NIV

When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, scripture tells us, "It came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, 'Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.'" Luke 3:21b-22 KJV  If you are born again, then you are one with Christ and He (God) is well pleased with you - and you are well able to take the land!

Faith without works is dead, but also, works without faith are dead. (ref. Jam. 2:17-18, Heb. 6:1)  Faith in the One who made the promises is what gives us the boldness to claim our inheritance. The Apostle Paul wrote, "We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;" 2 Cor. 4:13 KJV

We find in scripture, "For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:" Rom. 4:13-14 KJV  If it was by the law - which would make it our own merit, performance or human effort - why would we need a Savior?

The gospel is a revelation of God's righteousness because it brings hope, (I don't have to rely on my own strengths and I am not hindered by my short-comings) but I can rest in Christ's strength, which I do. It (the gospel) reveals the righteousness (our right-standing with God) God provides through the work of the cross, this is the righteousness we are to seek after and it is the righteousness you found (and continually possess) if you're in Christ. (ref. Mat. 6:33, Col. 1:13) This is the righteousness we were made when we were born again through faith in Christ's finished work as stated in Paul's second letter to the church in Corinth ,"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Cor. 5:21 KJV Four verses earlier from the previous verse we are told, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ; he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come." 2 Cor. 5:17 NIV This is the righteousness we were created in and we're told to put on (in our mindset or attitude of our minds) spoken of by Paul, "to be made new in the attitude of your minds; (spirit of your minds) And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." Eph. 4:23 NIV, vs. 24 KJV (parentheses mine) This is the righteousness that the gospel reveals. (ref. Rom. 1:16-17)

As found in Colossians, "For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel:" Col. 1:5 KJV

The book of Acts tells us that the Apostle Paul speaking to a group at Antioch in Pisidia declared, "Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses." Acts 13:37-38 KJV

The gospel work is boldly proclaimed by the writer of Hebrews, saying, "Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in My covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people: For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." Heb. 8:9-10, 12 KJV

The Apostle Paul writes, "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father." Gal. 4:4-6 KJV

The law works for us, as children, in a practical sense to govern our behavior through the fear of punishment. As an infant child or toddler, we cannot reason the necessity of avoiding putting a screwdriver into an electrical outlet, but we shortly come to understand attempting to do so brings an urgent spanking. Scripture states, "Now I say, that the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, (slave) though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:" Gal. 4:1-3 KJV

A law system is for behavior modification. The only thing a law system can do is judge and condemn, but it cannot transform. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is what transforms from within.

We as believers are now led or governed from within, by the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit, not by an external code of laws. Conforming to rules comes from without; transformation comes from within. (ref. Rom. 12:2) "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." 2 Cor. 3:17 KJV  "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." Rom. 8:2 KJV

Again, the law works for us, as children, in a practical sense to govern our behavior through the fear of punishment. The law curbs the behavior of unruly kids and an unruly society, yet it is not God's true heart. It's not God's desire to control from without like a dictator or despot; they never win the heart of the people. He wants us to follow Him willingly, led from within by the Holy Spirit. He wants us to have faith and not fear, (fear of punishment) and have the relationship with Him that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit brings. When one's heart turns toward Him the veil is lifted.

God's kingdom has a King and He's a good King with a kind and merciful heart. As born-again Christians our hearts now say Abba Father and we are sons and daughters, no longer slaves. (ref. Gal. 4:6-7) The law is cold and it desires no relationship, and if a person is prideful and thinks he can earn his way to heaven by his own merit or performance, then he is not looking to the One who did it for him. God rules our hearts by love. The law demands whereas grace imparts in us a desire to live a godly life. (ref. Titus 2:12)

Scripture tells us, "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, (people who aren't delivered from the law or don't realize they have been, believe God is angry with them, for by the law is the fear of wrath) yet now hath he reconciled, In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel, which ye have heard," Col.1:21-23a KJV (parentheses mine)

Jesus fulfilled the law. Jesus went to the cross fully man and fully God. He bore our punishment that the law demanded.

Scripture now tells us to "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Gal. 6:2 KJV

Also we find, "Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, THOU SHALT NOT KILL, THOU SHALT NOT STEAL, THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, THOU SHALT NOT COVET; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." Rom. 13:8-10 KJV

We are told in the book of James, "Confess your faults one to another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man (a man in right-standing with God - a man who realizes he's in right-standing with God, which is faith) availeth much." Jam. 5:16 KJV (parentheses mine) People are at liberty to confess their faults in a nonjudgmental atmosphere and the body of Christ is free to minister as we express the unconditional love of God that we have received when we truly understand that we are not under the condemnation of the law. (ref. Rom. 8:1)

Scripture also states, "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Gal. 5:14 KJV

Our faith and patience grow for us and others as we come to know and believe the love God has toward us. (ref. 1 John 4:16) This faith allows us to move boldly toward the promises. God's unconditional love toward us is what allows us to be accepted just as we are. We will truly find ourselves behaving better after we have received his unconditional love, yet God's unconditional love is so foreign to this world. The world's system we have been brought up in (before becoming born again) is mostly conditional and in some cases has to be or else society wouldn't function properly. (traffic laws, etc.) The world's system is to compare one to another. (ref. 2 Cor. 10:12) We're okay as long as we are better than that other person, yet the law is an impossible standard. God said, "Be ye perfect as I am perfect." (ref. Mat. 5:48) Again, 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. Again, 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, Col. 1:1)

As stated above, Father God said to Jesus, "Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased." Luke 3:22b KJV  The Apostle Paul writes in his epistle to the Ephesians, "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." Eph.1:6 KJV

Jesus is the beloved Son of God - in Whom God is well pleased, and we are accepted in the Beloved, and God is well pleased with us.

We find in scripture, "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." Rom. 8:8-9a KJV

The only qualification here to be in the Spirit is to have the Spirit of God dwelling in you. If you are born again then you have the Spirit of God dwelling in you and God is pleased with you.

We also find in scripture, "giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light." Col. 1:12 NIV

God qualified us through His Son Jesus.  We can agree with Joshua's good report that if the Lord is pleased with us, He will lead us into the land, and He is pleased with us. We can also agree with scripture which declares, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." Rom. 8:2 KJV

Now God bless and go take the Promise Land!

1 comment:

  1. Good message and may God bless you and yours. Please stay safe and keep the faith that God will see us through these terrible times.


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Thanks, David