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Is it really Grace versus Law

Is it really Grace versus Law

 Before I get too many feather’s ruffled up let me start off by saying that I believe it is only by the Grace of God that we experience the fullness of salvation, but I hear so many negative things being spoken against anything that is Law I have to wonder if expressing such anger or bitterness is appropriate. What I see clearly laid out before us in scripture is that there is a state of existence called righteousness. When Adam and Eve first existed they were in this state of righteousness and free from any influences that would hinder the quality of life that God had created and given to them. We know then that at some point later this all changed when they received the knowledge of good and evil, which we refer to as the moral law. It was at this point that they defined themselves as righteous or not through what they did instead of simply being righteous by God. A major point is that prior to this knowledge they never did anything unrighteous because there was no outside influence that caused them to behave or believe anything contrary to their inherit nature from God.

As soon as they received the moral law then what did God say? Was it oh no they have become our enemies? No in fact God said they have become like us to know good and evil. So receiving the moral law did not make less like God but more like him. So what was the problem then? The problem was that man could not handle it. The influence pride has, which the adversary used to tempt them in the first place, was too strong for them to resist for all eternity. God knew though before man ever existed that man would become a victim of pride and planned on a means of restoration through Jesus. Not wanting to get off subject then we can conclude that the Law is not evil but it is a part of God is some way. It is a reflection of God, His perfection, and an outline of how to be righteous independent of God. This is something though that no one could ever maintain and all would fail.

So the Law is not in opposition to God but a means to achieve the goal of righteousness. It is a process though that is without end or a perpetual goal, because it is not a standard that upon achieving one can relax and cease in its maintenance. Grace though is not a list of attributes or functions that one must continuously work at but its mode of operation is totally the opposite. It is not in opposition to the goal of righteousness but it is a totally opposite means of achieving and sustaining it. The secret to grace is that you must effortlessly receive it. Yep that’s it. It is a gift that is given by God through Jesus. This is why it is called the gospel (good news) of grace.

 Now honestly ask yourself does the Law appear to evil or at odds with grace? Not to me, but with that being said there are some things that we are told to enable us to experience the fruits of righteousness. Both are paths to arrive at the same goal but only one is achievable and sustainable. We are also told that if you mix the two together in any way then they both are of no effect. You can go back and forth between the two. Not because God is going to send the hounds of Hell after you but because you will fail to see any benefit of either in your life. We become our worst enemies at times and try to blame everyone for the mess we create. We are told that if you are going to live by the Law then you must keep the whole Law and not just what you choose to so that you can feel in righteous. And if you choose to live by Grace then it must be by Grace alone and no mixture of the Law.

 So if we who have chosen to live by God’s Grace are truly not under the influence of the Law then why do so many choose to bash it and those who are trying to live by it? I can only speak from my personal observation and experience but I would say it is because they are not truly 100% under the influence of Grace. It is one thing to encourage others and reveal to them an effortless life full of Grace through the one we life, but quite another thing to not be a living example and judgemental as well of those who are not trying to live by the grace God offers. The later is always fear based and though we may not be afraid like someone holding a gun to our heads type, there is a fear that one is not experiencing the fullness of Grace and starts to wonder what is wrong. This may not be as much a cognizant thought as subliminal but the influence in one life is till there.

What I have noticed is that there are those who are truly under the influence of Grace and there are those who think they are, and in all seriousness I believe they are working out letting go of the influences the Law still has in them. How have I noticed the differences? Well in others as in myself, I notice the things which we are trying to justify in contradiction to the inherit nature we receive from our Father. Since out topic is more focused on the moral Law let’s use behavior as an example.

 No matter how much many want to say that behaviourism is irrelevant in the Grace led life, there is nothing to back that up in scripture. It is true that our behaviors can never achieve what Grace freely gives, but our behaviors our the fruits of our beliefs. If we do not believe the truth then we will not manifest the fruits, characteristics, behaviors or whatever you want to call it of the truth. I say this to mainly point out the fact that we never see people who come under the Grace of God remain the same. I can attest to the fact that as I see Grace become the major influence in one’s life, many of the behaviors which are contrary to our inherit nature of God cease to have influence and therefore no longer manifest themselves. This is how Grace effortlessly produces change in our lives so the we can experience the quality of life God desires for us. If we true to produce the same results that Grace does effortlessly then this is called living under the Law.

 Let me clarify something here. When something is trying to influence our life to do something contrary to our inherit nature we are not being legalistic in resisting it. If we continue to try to use willpower though to overcome its ongoing influence though we will never be at peace and since the root of the matter is never addressed the temptation for that influence to overcome a person always remains. The Law does benefit us in that as we see the flags going up that say there is something wrong we can seek to receive Grace in those areas where we are still under the Laws influence. Again many are not honest with themselves and try to justify their behaviors under the blanket of Grace, yet we are taught that Grace is the power to change. Anyone who uses Grace to justify their actions is not experiencing the benefits of Grace, which would empower them to experience the quality of life that God desires for them. One who is truly living under the fullness of Grace never experiences the need to justify their deeds because they manifest behaviors that only reflect what they inherited from our Father.

 The Law though only points out our faults and unlike Grace, it does not provide a means to receive healing or wholeness in the area that is causing one to fall short of righteousness. The Law will point out every time you make a mistake, but it relies on your willpower to take any corrective actions to live in compliance of the Law. It is all about you and your own ability. The source for those who choose to live under the Law then is pride. Pride is the driving force because it is all about self and ones ability to be like God independent of God.

Using then the same scenario as with Grace, those who find themselves in violation of the Law must choose either one of two things. They must choose to try to be better at keeping the Law or they must justify their inability to change by trying to change the Law to accept the behavior. We see examples of this everyday around the world where in one community they accept one form of behavior that another would find detestable. What we have then is the influence of the moral law that is of God then perverted to suit the needs of those trying to fulfill it to give the appearance of righteousness and remove the need to change.

Regardless of the means then in which we try to justify anything in contradiction to God it remains just that, a contradiction. A negative influence, no matter how much we may enjoy it, that inhibits us from experiencing the liberty of a life that is righteous. I am very well aware that there are things that influence my life which cause me to act in ways that I know are not what God desires for me to experience. I also know that there have many things that have effortlessly shed themselves from out of my life as I receive His Grace in the areas that produce the fruit associated with unrighteousness. Could I easily cover myself in a blanket called grace and never change a thing? I could but I do not desire to sell myself short nor God’s provision and I know that such a blanket is not a gift from God but one that is from an adversary who wishes to keep us in bondage through any means possible.

 Paul literally asks the question should we sin that Grace may abound? His answer is an emphatic no. Some will say that sin is no longer an issue because Jesus took away the sins of the world. I understand that though no one would argue that we still see the results of its influence everywhere we go. Wherever we see death, destruction, bitterness, hatred and the list goes on, then we still see its influence. God has absolutely no desire to see us under any influence that would cause us to experience anything other than the quality of life He freely offers. We should not judge anyone either because every person is on their own journey. Some are closer to realizing the fullness of Grace in their lives than others. Again if someone has chosen to live contrary to the truth there it is one thing to be a living example of Grace versus bring their judge and condemning them. It is not our job to judge those who are not under Grace but offer them the righteousness, peace and joy that fruits of resting in God’s grace.

 

Another thing that is overlooked is the fact that once man received the knowledge of good and evil, God never removed this knowledge of the moral law from man. Again God knew this would all happen but that man would never be able to attain and sustain righteousness through the Law so He gave us Grace. Had the Law been corrupt then God would have destroyed it, but since it is a reflection of God He empowered us to live in the Law under Grace. Not according to the Law but in existence with it.

 

Another thing that is overlooked is the fact that once man received the knowledge of good and evil, God never removed this knowledge of the moral law from man. Again God knew this would all happen but that man would never be able to attain and sustain righteousness through the Law so He gave us Grace. Had the Law been corrupt then God would have destroyed it, but since it is a reflection of God He empowered us to live in the Law under Grace. Not according to the Law but in existence with it.

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Cheapened Grace

Don’t let a cheapened message of God’s grace rob you of your inheritance.

As many people are hearing and receiving the message of God’s grace there are also teachings that cheapen it and in the end devalue not only the message, what Jesus accomplished and his sacrifice but also the person who God ultimately desires to be the benefactor of His grace. God created man in His image and the true and pure characteristics and values that God breathed into man are direct reflections of our inherit nature from God. Anything that is not a part of our inherited nature then is from an outside influence and can never increase our experience in life but only detract from it. Being free from these outside influences is the power of God’s grace in our lives.

With this being said first let me state that in understanding God’s grace if your relationship with God is not based 100% on the grace He shows towards you, then any deviation will encourage you to experience life in a way that will inhibit you from the quality of life Jesus gave his for in your place and that our Father desires for you. You can choose to not be honest with yourself but it is clear that God created Adam and Eve out of love and they existed in a state where they never tried to test or alter the boundaries that defined them. At least not until an outside influence encouraged them to devalue themselves by perceiving their value as coming possibly from another source outside of God. Namely themselves which we know is pride.

The bottom line is then anything that influences us to not live according to our inherit natures will inhibit us from experiencing the quality of life that God desires for us and as an outside influence it is in opposition to God. It is this outside influence then that Jesus overcame so that through Jesus the wholeness that comes through salvation reveals to us our unadulterated identities enabling us to experience reconciliation to our Father. This is one thing that I really get grieved about when I hear those who have been given influence into the lives of others and they try to attach God’s love and acceptance of that person to the very thing that is influencing them to not experience what God has given them.

Allow me to use a hypothetical scenario to elaborate on what I mean. We almost all know something of cancer. Either we, or someone we know, have been under its influence. In fact this is a close subject to me because at the time of this writing my father was diagnosed with cancer only the week prior. Not let’s say that this motivates me to find a cure for cancer and though by the time I do my father passes away. I create a cure where a simple drop of this medicine will destroy the cancer and restore any damage it did. Now after this discovery I have a child who ends up being born with cancer. I have the cure but others intervene and say that because I love the child it is okay that they have cancer. They can keep the cancer because I will accept them just as they are.

Now the claim made is a true statement in that I would love the child unconditionally and accept them regardless of the cancer, but that is not the whole truth. In fact the whole truth in that though my love for my child is unconditional and that I would accept them no matter what is because I could make them whole, then to truly express my love, I would give them the medicine to heal them and enable them to experience the best quality of life possible. If I had made it possible for my child to be free from cancer and it was in my power to make it so then to not do it would question whether I really loved the child or not.

Hopefully this clearly conveys why I have such a strong discontent when people try to cheapen the grace of God by devaluing it with some of the messages that are taught. I understand that a person’s value and identity are not to be wrapped up in the things they do or the influences in their life which are contrary to what God desires. Our identity and value to be totally healthy needs to be derived totally from God. Yet when we choose to say that because God loves you and accepts you just they way you are, which is half of the truth, without encouraging them to receive the wholeness and restoration of their identities free from influences outside of God, then we are conveying a message that it is okay to remain the way they are. In other words yes Jesus opened the way for you to receive the full benefits of salvation but because God loves you an accepts you it is okay if you remain under the influence of death and destruction. There is no gray area is this matter. We should not ever accept falling short of experiencing the fullness of God’s provision by allowing ourselves to become content and try to use God’s acceptance and love as a means to justify our complacency in our flesh or worldly influence.

It is true that our actions and outside influences against us cannot separate us from God’s love. Nor can it undo what has been done by faith in Jesus in experiencing salvation. But to say it is acceptable for anyone to remain in a state that is contrary God’s desire is just cold-hearted and unloving. No matter what the sickness, disease, behavior or anything else is we are to be as Jesus and provide total restoration to every person in every way. To accept the influence in a person’s life that is a result from a fallen state is in no way representing the love of God, because it is approving of something that is contrary to God’s desire and the finished works of Jesus.

Never once in scripture did I see anyone come under the influence of God’s grace who in choosing to receive it, came short of being restored. We see beliefs and behaviors changed as well as physical healing and demonic influences removed. And again never once do we see any message conveyed that it is acceptable to choose to tell someone it is okay for them to keep living their lives in ways that do not glorify what God has done for us to make us whole. Perhaps that is a part of the equation which is not understood so well. I can remember growing up in church culture, and if I have heard it once I have heard it a thousand times, where the pastor or teacher will start praying and repeatedly say, “We glorify you Lord, we magnify your name.” Really? Yes there are many just that clueless in that they have no idea what it truly means to glorify God. When we are receiving and experiencing the benefits and fruit of God’s love and His sacrifice then we are glorifying God. To say we glorify God by literally saying the words is as superficial as telling someone you love them without ever expressing it.

Remember God’s grace does not enable us nor gives approval for us to experience a quality of life contrary to what God desires for us and Jesus died for. But grace empowers us to not remain under any influences that come from sources outside of God which try to inhibit us from experiencing our inheritance. We should never allow our values and identities to be determined by any sickness, disease, beliefs, behaviors or any other influences, but the quality of life that we experience should glorify God. So as you read scriptures if there is something that you see God move against or disapprove of in any way, in knowing that God never changes, it is clear to say that if these things have influence in your life then seek God’s grace. There is nothing that has an influence in your life, which is contrary to God, that Jesus did not make possible for you to receive restoration in.

In writing this I had to stop and question the motivation behind why people are taking the message of God’s grace and perverting it? The justification that comes to mind, and I would not say that this is the only reason, is that there are possibly areas in their lives where restoration through God has not taken place yet. And if this is the case they are allowing that or those circumstances to influence their value and identity. Instead of continuing on then and receiving restoration and healing in all aspects of their lives they choose to justify their circumstances by teaching others that it is acceptable to not experience change as a result of the gospel in their lives. This justification allows them to experience a form of acceptance and contentment in their own situations. Of course this whole line of reasoning is one that is solely influenced out of pride and is a false representation of God’s acceptance. It is true God accepts everyone and as evidence of this acceptance He freely gives complete healing and restoration in all situations.

When I speak of healing I am not only talking about only the physical aspect, which is included, but much of what we see in the physical is the fruit of beliefs in our hearts that are corrupt and the emotional healing is also included. Almost all behavior contrary to God is a result of an emotional influence which creates a belief that one lives by. These emotional stresses can also produce side effects like physical ailments in the body as well. So in receiving total healing I am not just talking physical, because if the physical is a result of an emotional issue and we receive a physical healing only, the influence of the emotional issue will continue to try to destroy the body.

As I said in the title, don’t let yourself be robbed of your inheritance. Don’t let people sell you on something which is clearly contrary to the context of what you read in the bible. If God was against it there is nothing that was done to make Him change His mind and now accept it. You can earn nothing from God, so no religious routines will justify you to be able to receive anything from God. God freely gives to all who ask and this is the heart of His grace on all to all so that all may experience the quality of life that He longs for us to. There are things of this world that we try to allow, justify and incorporate into our relationship with God, which He has always disdained and always will. He does love us unconditionally and has proven His acceptance of us in spite of our shortcomings, but He has also made it possible for us to no longer be under the influences of this world so we can experience the true liberty we have in Christ Jesus.

We should also never feel guilty, ashamed or condemned about those things that have influence in our lives which are not from God. Again think of it as a disease, and we can choose to live with that disease but God because of His love for us has come up with the cure and desires for us to receive it. As I said before there is nothing that will cause God to ever cease loving us, we can only choose not to receive His love nor participate in the quality of life He desires for us through total restoration and healing.

With all this being said there are some who teach that because of Jesus everything is already ours no matter what. In some ways I agree because there is nothing for us to do but to believe and receive it as you would a gift, which is said over and over throughout the New Testament. What I do not agree with is the teaching that states that all of mankind is saved whether they believe it or not. Though I wish this were true it was not God who caused man to reject Him in the first place, but has made an effortless way to assure us that reconciliation is something that everyone and anyone can freely experience.

When people say that everyone is saved, and in some cases they add that they just do not know it yet, then I see this clearly as a statement that would say God is incompetent. After all everyone Jesus made absolutely no distinction in being saved between the forgiveness of sins and healing. Therefore the overwhelming evidence would distinctly conclude that everyone, everywhere, for all time is not already saved because as a part of experiencing the fullness of salvation that is available one would also have to experience freedom from sickness, disease or any other infirmary that is a result of sins influence in this world. To say that salvation is not something we must receive in order to participate in its benefits then means only one of two things. First either God is not capable of keeping His word or the other being Jesus is a liar.

I really do not think people understand that damage done when they teach such nonsense. To put in context would go along the lines of something like this. Imagine walking up to someone who has been crippled all their life and in a wheelchair. They have been suffering day in and day out in pain for over 30 years and just wish in many cases that they never existed. Then you say the following. “Why are you in a wheelchair all crippled up and in pain. Don’t you know that you were saved by Jesus and you are not crippled.” After all my point here is to keep this in context you can’t show the mercy that is shown scriptures because you cannot offer salvation but must demand that they are saved. To offer salvation or pray for healing like in the bible would mean that it is in fact not something that has been thrust upon all of humanity.

I do believe that most who teach this way and in others that are not the gospel of grace, do in most cases desire for people to experience what God has for them. There is an honest effort being put forth to in some quasi fashion to help others become aware of their relationship to God. But it does border insanity to say that you already have everything and you cannot receive anything even though your experience is not in agreement. Is it available? Absolutely yes and freely it has been given to us, but it is quite evident that it is something we must choose to be a participant of to experience any benefit.

There is also one other question when we really look at this from a big picture view, or at least has big as we can see, and that is what is the point. If God alone without our involvement can rectify the situation that we are in, why would He allowed it at all. Obviously God knows everything through His eternal existence. So in creating man with free will to at least allow sin to enter into the physical realm but then say that God can and has overrode everyone’s free will to save them, why would God who is love permit suffering such an atrocity to begin with? If man’s input or participation is not required why not express mercy and grace on mankind by eliminating the situation all together prior to man’s existence? My personal answer is because no matter how great the love, if it one can not let go then the relationship has gone from love to pride and greed.

Since God is love He allows us to be who we are, for better or worse, and is always willing to receive us back with open arms when we come to the realization that we were never able to produce life on our own but freely receive it as part of our relationship with Him. The focus always ends up on being our relationship with God and do we trust and believe He only desires and has provided all things for us to experience the quality of life He desires for us.


Liberty Is Not Always Approval

     It still boggles my mind how one can even begin to imagine God has some sort of evil monster yet I see it all the time when people confuse the liberty we have in the grace of God with the ability to do whatever we want without consequences. I 100% believe that by the grace of God there is nothing we can say or do that will separate from the love of God, nor can we be saved. It is only by faith in Jesus that we are saved. But to think that because God unconditionally loves us means that He does not care about what we think, say or do is totally irresponsible. I hope that anyone who is a parent can actually grasp this concept, or I feel so sorry for the children you have. God desires for all us to experience the quality of life He has inherently placed in us and created for us in order to experience the fullness of His joy in us.

     With that being said when we love our lives in any way contrary to this then we shut the door to receiving God’s best. Some say that it is okay to live in ways that are contrary to what is taught in the bible, and will even use Paul or others to try to point to this. But Paul never endorsed any such thing. Yes Paul highlights the liberty we have IN CHRIST, which is the freedom from trying to live under the Law system for righteousness. But to say that this is liberty to act in ways contrary to what is clearly laid out in the bible for us as our guide is totally thoughtless and uncaring. It seems the whole motivation to teach in such a manner would be only for the benefit of justifying ones own actions.

     As a parent I love my son unconditionally. No matter what I will always love him. And because I love him there are things that I would want to protect him from and there are behaviors that I would never endorse because they would either be a detriment his health, our relationship by shutting me out or cause him to experience life in ways that will not allow him to experience the quality of life God desires for him. To then say it is okay for either God or myself to turn a blind eye and accept anything that he does as okay can only mean that we do not love him. We would be reinforcing the demonically inspired notion that it is okay to reject God’s best so he could live the life that he wants because an influence outside of the love of God is driving him away from God’s desires for him through some sort of self gratification.

     There is absolutely no correlation then between the liberty we have in Christ and the approval of God to live contrary to His desire for us. In being His offspring our desires are going to inherently be similar if they are not being influenced by and outside corrupted source. It is totally true again that this has nothing to do with eternal life, salvation in Jesus, because that is a gift that we experience by faith alone and not of any works. But when we say it is okay for someone to remain in a state of existence prior to that of what is God’s best then we are saying we do not love them. Accepting someone regardless of who they are and what they do is not the same as approving of their circumstances. In these cases our hope would be in the love of God persuading their hearts to seek the life that only He can give by setting them free of the beliefs that they have about themselves.

     Just as in the case of my son, if I knew of something he was doing or believed to be true that was contrary to God, then I would try my best to influence him to believe the truth. I would never want him to experience life in ways contrary to his inherit nature, what many call sin, because I love him. This does not meant that I have rejected him, nor would I ever reject him, but it only means that I would be expressing my love for him as our Father does towards us.


The Preterism Killer (Mt. 24:14)

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This is the link to the actual post below, which was copied from their. This is one of hundreds of insights from the book Raptureless by Jonathan Welton

The Preterism Killer (Mt. 24:14).

 

I have had multiple people tell me that they haven’t taken the time to read Raptureless, but they “know what they think of preterism.”

Typically, the opinion is that some of Matthew 24 did happen in 70AD (which I agree with), BUT SOME of Matthew 24 didn’t happen in 70AD…… (I don’t agree with this).

One-Third of Raptureless is dedicated to going through Matthew 24 verse-by-verse and demonstrating that each and every verse has already been fulfilled.

The verse that holds so many people back is Matthew 24:14. “And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

Most Evangelical programs have used this verse as a major catalyst to drive fundraisers for missions work. Personally, based on this verse, I used to think that once we showed the Jesus Film to the last tribe of pygmies, then finally the rapture would come.

I have come to understand that Jesus is not talking about the End of the world in Matthew 24:14, He is speaking of the End of the Old Covenant world. So Jesus declares that the “whole world” will be preached to, but the word for “world” is “Oikoumene” in the Greek, which means a localized area, not “Kosmos” which would have meant the whole planet.

Oikoumene is the same Greek word used in Luke 2:1: “Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.”

The apostle Paul used this same word later to confirm four times that the gospel had reached the whole civilized world as Jesus predicted (see Rom. 1:8; 10:18; Col 1:5–6,23).

So yes, Matthew 24:14 has already been fulfilled.

Now before your fundraising program begins to fall apart, let me say, this is actually WAY BETTER NEWS!

The old idea of preaching to the whole world so that the rapture can finally come has created a program that is a mile wide and one inch deep. Yet if we can understand that our mission is actually to bring heaven into the earth, we can realize that we have a lot more work ahead of us than to simply preaching salvation. We are called to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom! We must be focused on “Discipling the Nations”!!!

If you have held back on believing that Matthew 24 is fulfilled because of verse 14, please give it another chance. It’s important that we get these things right because it shapes the foundation of our worldview

Blessings!


Forgiveness

Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. (John 20:23)

I have heard some say that this is speaking of the ability for believers to have the power/authority to either permit someone to be forgiven or remain under judgment for their sins. With the context being that the believer is representing God’s position to the sinners. This has never set well with me for a few reasons but the greatest of all is sin towards God has been forgiven through the blood of Jesus. It is true that many have not received forgiveness and therefore it is not beneficial to them, but none the less God has forgiven us of all sin.

What I have come to understand is in this saying Jesus is telling people that they need to forgive others so that they can be free from the power of the trespass against them to have influence in their lives. If we retain the sins of those who have trespassed against us, this lack of forgiving has the ability to manifest negatively in many ways in the believer’s life. I have heard testimony after testimony of when someone has forgiven someone else in their past about something that hurt them, how physical healing afterward has taken place. In forgiving others it is also easier to receive forgiveness from God and to believe it is so, which empowers us to live free from guilt, shame, condemnation and negative judgment. I have also seen people who struggle with addiction and other personality disorders, who upon forgiving people for the offenses committed against them, have received total healing and deliverance from these circumstances.

Forgiveness, or the remission of sin, is not something that actually takes place only on an intellectual level. Meaning that even if a person is aware of what happened and knows they are harboring ill will because of a circumstance, there is more than just saying someone is forgiven for the trespass, in order for it to truly be an act of forgiving and receive the benefits of forgiving others. Forgiveness must come from the heart, out of a genuine compassion for the other person, realizing the fact that in most cases they are just acting out of their hurts as well. Though it is also totally possible for one to feel trespassed against merely out of their own delusion, with the supposed offender being totally innocent.

Regardless of the source it is necessary to forgive others out of the same motivation as God, who has forgiven us, in order to truly experience the benefits of living a life free from the bondage of an unforgiving heart. Jesus is a prime example of this in that no matter how much he went through during his ministry, and especially just prior to going to the cross, he always had compassion towards those who persecuted him because he understood the influence in their lives which was driving this distorted perception of themselves. Stephen also in his last statement as he was being stoned to death, cried out for our Father to not hold this sin against them.

The ability to truly forgive someone, to separate a person’s value and identity from their actions, is an inherited trait from our Father. I believe this is why unforgiveness is so destructive because it enforces the perverted belief we have about ourselves causing us to have a corrupt perception of our values and identity. I truly believe that we can only experience the fullness of our relationship with God once we are totally free from the bondage of unforgiveness.


Grace Does Not Equate To Complacency

     Grace does not equate to complacency nor does God’s unconditional love mean that God accepts us living lives contrary to His intentions. The more the acceptance of the message of God’s grace grows the more I hear of groups perverting this position by devaluing the quality of life the God desires for every single person to experience. For anyone to continue in a lifestyle which is contrary to God’s desire for us as His children and to say that it is acceptable because God loves me and Jesus took away sin, is total foolishness. I have never met a parent yet, who truly loves their children, say to them, “It is okay to live a life of sexual promiscuity, drug addiction, alcoholism or anything else that would inhibit you from experiencing the best quality of life I desire for you because I love you.” With God when it comes to us, His children, there is no toleration of acceptance for us to experience anything less than His total provision. This is what Jesus died for in reconciling us unto our Father so that we can for all eternity experience a perfect union with God. In his sacrifice then Jesus also made it possible to experience total wholeness so that being free from anything that would influence our lives to consider choices contrary to God’s design for our lives, we would have liberty to experience the fullness of God’s desires for us.

     This does not mean that God gets angry with us when we fall short of experiencing what he desires for us because many of the things that influence us to desire less than what God has for us come from such things that are demonically driven. Many people have repressed memories of events or circumstances that inhibit them from believing that they are loved and valued and deserve everything God has to offer. In cases like this it is the healing process that removes these influences from our hearts and replaces them with God’s love so we have full, healthy lives where the fruit of the Spirit, righteousness peace and joy, are a part of our daily lives. No one deserves anything by earning it from God because our Father unconditionally loves us He and gives us this quality of life as an expression of his love. Therefore to settle for something less than Papa desires for us is in a sense to reject Him.

     I do realize that all of us fall short of experiencing the fullness of His provision. Some more than others. But just because we fall short does not give us the right to become complacent with where we are at. In my personal opinion I believe that complacency is of a demonic nature because it’s influence detours those under it to from seeking out healing and wholeness in order to experience the quality of life that God desires for us. When someone says that it is acceptable for someone to live their life in a way which is contrary to God’s desire because of love and forgiveness, then they are missing the point all together. Jesus did not go through what he did so that we could remain in a lost state of mind and still have a relationship with our Father. He suffered so that we could be delivered and set free from all things that would keep us from experiencing the fullness of our Father.

     There are many who try to use the grace of God to justify any need for accountability and therefore say that because of His grace we are allowed to go through life doing whatever gives us pleasure because Jesus made everything acceptable. When I talk about this subject I am not saying that one is disqualified from “going to heaven” because of what they do since salvation is a gift from God which is received in faith, but the reality is Jesus said that eternal life is intimacy with our Father. If our beliefs, thoughts, actions, desires etc. are not in agreement with God, then we are not fully able to experience eternal life now to the degree that we can due to a lack of intimacy. Not a lack on God’s part but on our part. By God’s grace we can not earn anything from God, for we are innocent in His eyes, but grace does not mean that we will experience intimacy or His quality of life for us independent of participating with God in it.

     We see the grace of God manifested through Jesus in that only through being in union with Jesus can we be found righteous, for no one can be found righteous through their own efforts in trying to obey the Law for righteous requirements. By God’s grace then there exists a way, which is effortless on our part, to experience eternal life through Jesus. God’s grace then is not the empowerment to live at a sub-par standard, nor to help us even keep the commandments of the law, but the ability for us to receive His quality of life experientially in living a righteous, holy, loving, peaceful, joyful, fulfilled life by receiving healing in areas of our lives where we need it and living intimately with God. Where the focus of our lives ceases from what we do and how good we can be through our own efforts, solely unto our relationship with God.

    Again though even as believers if we allow situations and circumstances to influence our lives or accept ways of living our lives contrary to those in which God created for us to experience, then no matter how good we may feel about it or how happy we are, we are cheating ourselves out of God’s love and desire for us. To say that in living a complacent life we are experiencing the fullness of God is an erroneous statement at the least. It devalues God’s love for us, his desire and gifts for us as well as ourselves.


Knowledge Is OK, But Cannot Give Life.

     The moral law, obedience to the knowledge of good and evil, is not wrong or bad in and of itself. It is simply knowledge which is the same knowledge God declared to have when God stated that man has become like us, but the problem is when one believes that there is life in obedience to this law. When one believes that because they are a good person and therefore they have a right to go to heaven or experience eternal life, then they have missed the purpose of the moral law all together. The moral law only reveals to someone when they have done good or bad, right or wrong, but it does not empower them to do good nor does it have the ability to give life. Eternal life can only come from understanding and receiving ones value and identity as a son of God through the reconciliation which took place in Christ Jesus. These are totally separate issues yet because of the influence the moral law can have in one’s life instead of seeing themselves as a son of God, they tend to find their value and identity in what they do.

     This is the same issue which Paul addressed in Romans 7. Paul was made alive at his conversion on the road to Damascus, but at some point was tempted when some desire arose in his heart. Because Paul said that he returned to be under the law, he must have tried to resist this desire through his own willpower but finally came to his senses and rested in his identity as a son of God reconciled by Jesus. When we are tempted it is not wrong to resist but our resistance should come from the position of knowing who we are as sons and walking in our inherit value and identity from God our Father. When we try to resist outside of that identity through willpower then one’s resistance is only as strong as their will and if even it is successful in one case temporarily, it does not permanently remove that desire and teaches one to rely on their own will power instead of their identity, which will power will fail at some point and again does not create life.

 


Revelation of our Father

When Jesus was asked by his disciples to show them the Father, his response was that in seeing him one saw the Father. His disappointment at the question came because of a lack of revelation on his disciples part at that time in understanding our Father is Spirit, so the revelation of our Father does not take place in a physical form. Rather the revelation of our Father comes when His Spirit is residing in one doing His will in and through His sons. When people saw Jesus physically they were experiencing the very character, nature and desire of God our Father in His true form. We therefore glorify our Father when His Spirit resides in us and has the liberty to express His love in us and through us. We have an inherit nature as sons of God and it is when this inherit nature as sons is the dominant influence in our lives that we glorify God.


THE APOCALYPSIS

THE APOCALYPSIS.


The Source Is Important

I have been involved in a discussion among many pastors and leaders about the question of what is repentance and in the act of “accepting Jesus” your sins are forgiven. The question was proposed by someone whose heart I love and asks from the perspective of seeing his identity as a Messianic Jew. “Many of you folks bank an awful lot on the idea that if you ‘accept Jesus,’ your sins are forgiven. I’m not disagreeing with the idea, but am curious what ‘Accepting Jesus,’ means to you. Is it just coming to an intellectual understanding, praying a prayer, or living a life of submission TO him and Faith IN Him?”  He continued on with his question by stating, “As I read through the gospel, there is more emphasis in the Scriptures on changing your life to follow the pattern of a scripture obedient life. When I compare it to what most Christians say, repentance is no more than saying you are sorry, with no obligation to change your actions and attitudes. What does Repentance mean to you? and what does Accepting Jesus mean to you?”

It was interesting to see all the various responses, and yes there was a wide range of them. From those which were almost militant in thought, as to what you must do, to the other extreme of what I think our questioner was getting at in that as long as you believe that is all that matters. I agree in small part with that believing is what matters, but I do believe that if we believe the truth there will be change and fruit. I think part of the problem with this question starts with identity, in that the one proposing the question themselves has not yet come to the revelation of God as our source. Paul put it literally this way, “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.” Paul was trying to convey the fact that their was no value in one’s flesh, specifically in this case their ethnicity, but only in Christ. I find it difficult anymore to identify myself in anything outside of in Christ. When one does find their value in their flesh then they also bring into their relationship with God all the hindrances or limitations associated with the mindset of that culture.

America has a great issue with this as it constantly tries to segregate people by placing values on their ethnicity. I recently read something that a black brother of mine wrote where he was trying to help the black culture break free of their mindset. He stated that he was not an African-American, nor was his father or his father’s father. The fact was they were all Americans. He, his father, nor his father’s father came from Africa nor ever visited Africa. Just as whites do not declare that they are English Americans but just Americans. Yet America as a nation continues to do it racial profiling all the time. Just look at any job application or some other sort of government sponsored program. There is always the section of asking your racial background. Are your white ,black, Hispanic, Native American etc. I think you get the point.

God never has desired for us to define ourselves based on the flesh but based on him as our Father. God is the source of our identity and when we look outside of that single truth then there is the propensity to find value in ourselves over God. Wait a minute, isn’t that the source of all sin? After all this is what caused Lucifer to fall prior to man existing. But a point I wanted to make was that my friend who identifies as being a Messianic Jew then has inherited certain attributes with his identity. In this case I am talking about finding value in what one does. Please note that in his question and thoughts that he proposed, there was nothing about letting love transform you. It was worded as submission and obedience.

And this is the point that I wanted to make in that there are at least two paths we can go on to achieve what appears to be the same goal. Obviously there is the first which we have eluded to, which is to find value in ourselves in what we do. For instance yes we can choose to submit ourselves undo God and do good things. This can be done through willpower just like any good soldier, but even though their may be the appearance of good fruit, or righteous works, it does not glorify God but man’s ability to try to reproduce God. I guess one of the big questions here is the motivation behind what one is doing? Is it out of love or is it motivated by some other source. This is extremely important for the person who is manifesting the fruit because if the fruit which is being produced is not of God then it only bares witness to their independence from God and drive a wedge deeper into their relationship with God.

See the person asking the focal question here is more interested in the fruit than the source. Therefore they find value in the fruit regardless of its source. But the truth is that the source is more important than the fruit. I always look at this sort of subject from another aspect as well. Think about Adam and Eve prior to the fall. What were the demands on them? We think that there is value in what we do, but the reality for them was the only value that existed was them experiencing the goodness of God by simply existing and receiving his love. I do think that in some ways because of the introduction of sin into mankind that there will be more to ones life than this, but this is a good foundation to start from.

Jesus is now our example and when we study Jesus we see that he did not do anything to prove himself but out of a response of God’s love which compelled him to right the wrongs. I look at this way in that there are thousands of charities which do many good things. Some feed the hungry, provide water to arid areas or healthcare to those in need. All of these are wonderful acts of kindness, yet even Jesus gave us the concept that we can eat food or drink water and yet still die. If any act of charity, or love, is not done so in order to glorify God, then it is done for the wrong reason. This does not mean that I am not thankful in some ways for those who provide such humanitarian relief, because in aiding to extend ones life hopefully they will hear, receive and believe the gospel. But instead of humanity looking to one another as their source w as believers should be the ones taking the lead and be the conduit for their needs between them and God. All in hopes that they too would believe on Jesus for eternal life.

See I do think that one’s life is changed when they believe in Jesus as their savior, but I believe that true change is effortless and comes by knowing who one is in Christ and receiving the love of God. No one who really understands the basics of the bible doubts that God is love and therefore Jesus is the very embodiment of love. God’s love was the only source of motivation for Jesus to do what he did, as even Jesus declared that he only did what he saw the Father do, and said what the Father said. His motivation was not to do good out of independence to prove himself, but to do good to glorify our Father in revealing the Father’s love toward us.

In response to the main question then repentance and accepting Jesus to me is to simply no longer believe that there is value in what I do, but that in Christ I have been made complete. I find my source of value in God and realize that not because of anything I have done but because of Jesus, reconciliation has taken place in my relationship with God. Many have gotten to this point and then deviate from it to go in the wrong direction. From here many feel a sense of obligation to do something in order to maintain or sustain this relationship. That is simply not the case and to the degree one believe this is to the degree they devalue what Jesus accomplished.

The fact is it is all about God, his love for us, and what he did to draw us back into a relationship with Him in seeing God as our source for life. I really find it hard to hear someone say they serve God because of how religion has perverted this. I receive no value in serving God. What I do, I do because of the love I experience in my relationship with God. It is this love then that compels me to help others in hopes that they too will experience this great love.

Something that I have always kept in mind since coming to a revelation of God’s grace, is that Jesus, paraphrasing here, said that if we are in union with him then he will produce fruit in us and through us. This is one the reasons in which I have learned and continue to grow in, resting in God. I was as guilty of this as anyone else, but I am amazed that we find it hard to believe that God, who spoke into existence the heavens and earth, all that we know, see, understand and yet to discover, would abundantly provide for us, care for us and love us. Jesus did not tell us to produce fruit but to bear fruit, which is a major difference. People who are trying to produce fruit are dwelling in themselves as their source for fruit, but those of us who are fruit bearers simply allow fruit to happen by resting in God. It is a wonderful transition to make as now I can fully attest that Jesus’ yoke is easy and burden light. I have experienced this truth so many times that I now find it hard to see any value in what I do, which is a good thing.  As Jesus said, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit”

I hope that when you read this last paragraph that it is not taken as religion does in see that they have to do things to make God happy. That is so contrary to the point that they are polar opposites. The fact is Jesus is literally saying that as we learn to rest in him, out of our union with him because of times of intimacy we will bear fruit. It is this type of fruit that glorifies our Father because it comes effortlessly out of our union with God. It bears testimony to his goodness and loving kindness and not to mans ability.

This is a little longer than I had planned but I wanted to make sure that I clearly differentiated between works that give the appearance of good fruit and the manifestation of good fruit through someone with God as the source.