Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Very Thing for which Christ Suffered

“The hour is coming, and is here already,
when true worshippers will worship the Father spiritually and truly,
for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.
God is a spirit, and those who worship
Him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
Jesus, in John 4:23–24

To a self-willed, proud heart, the most cursed condition possible is to be set free from one’s own ways.  The majority of Jews in Paul’s day, having rejected their Messiah, looked upon the Gentiles who were “standing fast in the liberty wherewith Christ had made them free” as cursed people because they were not keeping the law.  The most precious blessing on earth, the greatest gift God has ever given – life in His Spirit – was condemned by those who were bound by their ignorance of the truth.
The very thing for which Christ suffered – liberty from the flesh and its ways – is the very thing that those who are “in the flesh” consider most evil.  Those who are still in the flesh cannot understand God, serve God rightly, or please God (Rom. 8:7–8).  Though He no longer accepts such worship, they continue to serve God in the flesh (that is, ceremonially) instead of in the Spirit, and they are afraid not to serve God that way because Christ has not “purged their conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Heb. 9:14).
Paul’s gospel for us Gentiles honored the Son perfectly.  Peter’s gospel for the Jews did not; it was a mixture of worship in the flesh and in the Spirit, for it mixed the rites of the law with worship in the Spirit.
Walking in the liberty of Paul’s gospel, a person pleases God to the utmost because that gospel honors the Son to the utmost.  And yet, what we see in the book of Acts is that the light of Paul’s gospel was so hated by men who were still “in the flesh”, both Jew and Gentile, that those men were willing to do anything – lie, kill, whatever – to rid the earth of those who walked in it.


The Lord showed me in a dream that those who are in the Spirit can go backwards if they choose to do so, and mix ceremonial rites with their faith.  The saints in Galatia did, and Paul told them they had fallen from grace and that Christ had become worthless to them (Gal. 5:4).  However, Paul himself circumcised young Timothy in the flesh so that Timothy could travel with him and preach to the Jews in their synagogues!  And that same Paul, who taught the Gentiles that Christ has become our Passover and that there were no Sabbaths and holy days for believers to observe, himself pushed hard to get to Jerusalem so that he could be there for the Passover!  And then, when he arrived, he offered sacrifice at the temple along with some of his Jewish brothers!
He whom Christ sets free is free indeed, but that perfect liberty, which Paul demonstrated, angers those who are still in the flesh.  They sense that God’s children have a liberty to choose what is an abomination to them – worship without ceremonial works. Those in Christ are free to do whatever pleases God; they are not bound to circumcise, and they are not bound to not circumcise. They are not bound to baptize in water, and they are not bound to not baptize in water.  For a man to circumcise another because he feels obligated to do so is sin, for there is only one circumcision that matters to God, the invisible circumcision His Son administers to our hearts by the holy Ghost.  But for a man to circumcise because it would better serve the purposes of God in a particular situation, as in the case of Paul circumcising Timothy, is God’s kind of righteousness.  That is the liberty we have in Christ, the liberty to do whatever God wants done, and the world hates it.
Are you free to baptize in water?  Are you in bondage not to?  If you are in bondage not to baptize, you are in no better spiritual condition than those who are in bondage to baptize in water.  Bondage is bondage.  Are you free today to do whatever pleases God?  Are you free to do whatever God wants done?  Or are you still bound by some superstitious fear that prevents you from doing whatever pleases God?
When old Uncle Joe received the holy Ghost, he received it in a meeting down in Florida conducted by a minister of the Oneness faith.  That sect believes that unless a person receives their water baptism, he cannot be saved in the end.  Uncle Joe knew better than that, and he considered himself free of any obligation to be baptized in the flesh.  So, he refused to allow those people to baptize him.  In the following weeks, they persisted in their demand that he be baptized, and he persisted in his refusal, and sometimes, the verbal battle became heated.
As this battle of wills went on, Uncle Joe corresponded with Preacher Clark, and in time, Preacher Clark discerned that Uncle Joe was developing an ungodly attitude toward those who were bound to worship in the flesh.  He did not want Uncle Joe to fall into bondage in the other direction!  He finally wrote Uncle Joe and asked him, “Why don’t you just let them baptize you so they can get it off their mind?”  Preacher Clark saw that, in that particular case, Uncle Joe, a newly born child if God, needed to get fleshly baptism off of his mind so that he could focus on the things of God.  Preacher Clark was truly free, “free indeed”.  He had no superstitious fear that obligated him to baptize, and he had no superstitious fear of not baptizing.  He was free to do whatsoever would accomplish the will of God.  Uncle Joe never was baptized in water, but Preacher Clark’s letter rescued him from falling victim to a spirit of strife against those who were in bondage to fleshly worship. 
“To the pure, all things are pure,” and Paul was as pure when he circumcised Timothy as he was pure when he told the Gentiles never to do such a thing.  He was as pure when he went to Jerusalem for the Passover as when he taught the Gentiles that Christ was the only Passover they needed.  And when he shaved his head and made sacrifice in Jerusalem, Paul was as pure as when he wept because the Jews were still doing such things.  Paul was free to know and obey the Spirit, and he never surrendered his liberty to any man.
Jesus straitly commanded me, many years ago, “Don’t you ever surrender your liberty to any man!”  And I have never done so.  I am still standing in the liberty of Christ, where “all things are lawful for me”, and yet I know, as Paul did, that “all things are not expedient.”  I know, as Paul did, that “circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but faith that works by love.”  I know as well that people’s observance of holy days is nothing to God, but I also know that my not observing holy days is nothing to God.  I know that Christians baptizing in water is nothing and that my not baptizing in water is nothing.  Faith, working through love, however, most certainly is something, and whoever does not serve God that way is unwise.
Some ministers have this knowledge, but they use it craftily to their own advantage, not wisely, to liberate God’s children.  They do not warn the children of God about the worthlessness of worship in the flesh, but go along with such worship, justifying their actions by saying, “It doesn’t matter either way.”  But how we worship God does matter because it matters what the Son of God suffered to set us free to do.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

“You’re There Already”

We don’t know the half of how good God is or the half of how true His word is.  But you’re free to eat it up as much as you want to.  And, tell you the truth, you are eating as much as you want to.  Everybody in here is as happy as you want to be, as free as you want to be, and as honest to God as you want to be.  You’re there, where you really want to be, already.  And if you aren’t satisfied with where you are, then move up!  The door is open!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Wise Father

Why is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom,
seeing he has no heart for it?
Proverbs 17:16

Know this, that in the last days, perilous times will come.
Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, braggarts,
arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy . . . 
always learning, yet never able to come to a real knowledge of the truth.
2Timothy 3:1-2, 7

The more a fool knows, the bigger fool he becomes.  Knowledge does not make a man wise.  In fact, the acquisition of knowledge can puff men up and keep them from becoming wise.  That is how it is also with the acquisition of money, or fame, or anything else that this world has.  Blessings destroy fools; they do not make them wise.
Understanding is the thing.  When God visited King Solomon and told him to ask for anything, Solomon asked for understanding.  The young king said to God,

1Kings 3
9. “Give your servant an understanding heart to judge your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to judge this, your so great a people?”
10. And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.

Solomon knew to ask for understanding because when he was young, his father David had told him how very important it is to have it.

Proverbs 4
3. I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.
4. He taught me also, and he said unto me, “Let your heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.
5. Get wisdom, get understanding!  Do not forget it; neither decline from the words of my mouth.
6. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve you.  Love her, and she shall keep you.
7. Wisdom is the principal thing.  Therefore, get wisdom.  With all your getting, get understanding!”

David was a wise father.  He prepared his son to be visited by God!  He did his duty and prepared Solomon to receive a blessing.
May God help us be circumspect as parents, as David was.  We cannot live our children’s lives for them; parents who try to do that ruin their children.  But we can prepare them to respond to God in a way that will please Him.  David showed us that it can be done, and because he did it, his son was greatly blessed.  Isn’t that the hope of every parent?
I remember feeling God’s conviction when I was in high school, and I remember falling to my knees.  Even while I was praying, I wondered at the prayer I heard coming out of my mouth because I heard myself begging God for understanding!  I had not even planned to pray, and certainly not to pray for that, but I did!  In fact, I was surprised, not only because of what I heard myself praying for but also because of the earnestness of my prayer.  When I knelt down, I suddenly felt desperate for understanding!  I heard myself begging God for it from the bottom of my heart!  I poured out my soul for understanding!
After my prayer ended, I remember walking outside, alone in the night, wondering at what I had just done, and wondering if God heard me, and what it might feel like if He ever answered my prayer.
I think I understand now why I prayed that prayer.  I believe it was because my father had done his job.  I believe that he had sown the seeds of righteousness in my life (though I did not pursue it at that time), and I was responding to the call of God, as my father had shown us to do, both in word and by example.  Of course, my father wanted his children to be able to work and earn enough money to get along in this life.  But somehow, like David with Solomon, he managed to instill in our hearts, in mine at least, the wisdom to know that with all our getting, we must seek God and get an understanding of eternal things.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Only the Truth within Reveals the Truth Without

You cannot know anybody or anything rightly, except by the Truth.  I have judged people to be courageous in faith, but seen Jesus expose them as cowardly by showing them the Truth.  They were courageous only as long as they embraced a faith that the world would not hate them for embracing.  When the Truth came to them, I saw them as Jesus saw them, and as he had seen them all along.  In exposing their hearts, the Truth forced me to surrender my high opinion of them and to trust God’s judgment instead.  The Truth also forced me to put up my sword when dealing with God’s children, for I saw them as defenseless and frightened, in spite of how mighty they appeared to be.
The curtain behind which God’s frightened little children most often try to hide is the curtain of religious appearances.  I saw them in a vision, and it humbled me!  With impressive religious titles and exalted church positions, they disguise their frightened little hearts, and their disguise works well.  Many of God’s littlest children have grey hair, for they have been little children for a long, long time.  Their résumé is impressive, and long.  When they hear the Truth, they put on an act of authoritative indignation at it, but God knows their hearts and He showed them to me.  They are, in reality, just frightened little children.  Sometimes, they may do very hurtful things to God’s true servants as part of their act, but their heavenly Father still loves them because He sees them as they really are.  Do we?
Jesus made me understand that if God ever used me to coax God’s little ones out of their hiding places and into the light, I would first have to love His little children as He did, even the ones who were haughty against the Truth.  Love alone, God’s healing love, will rescue them.  Jesus made me understand that without God’s kind of love, I would be useless to Him because I would be useless to His frightened little ones.
Jesus commanded us not to judge by what we can see and hear; that is, not to judge people by what they seem to be, by the titles they have or the positions they hold.  Only a knowledge of the Truth enables us to obey that commandment.  As David once said to God, “In your light, we shall see light” (Ps. 36:9).  Only with Truth from God will we ever see what God sees about people and feel what He feels toward them.  Pray for that Truth!  Only with the Truth of God living in us will we ever see the Truth about anyone or anything.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Just a Matter of Time

Simeon and Levi are brothers.  Their weapons are tools of injustice.
Let not my soul come into their council,
and in their assembly let not my honor be united!
For in their anger, they slew a man,
and in their self-will they broke down a wall.
Cursed be their anger!  For it was fierce, and their wrath, for it was cruel.
I will divide them within Jacob, and I will scatter them within Israel!
Genesis 49:5–7

Levi and Simeon had committed a great sin in slaughtering the unsuspecting inhabitants of Shechem (Gen. 34:25–26), and in doing so, they brought upon themselves the curse Jacob uttered in the verse above.  Centuries later, Jacob’s prophecy that God would scatter those two tribes came to pass.
The tribe of Levi: When Israel conquered Canaan’s land, the tribe of Levi was not given its own portion of land in Canaan the way it was given to the other tribes.  The tribe of Levi, being the priesthood tribe in Israel, was settled in 48 cities, scattered within the borders of the other tribes (Josh. 21).
The tribe of Simeon: The tribe of Judah was given a very large portion of Canaan, much larger than was given to any other tribe.  So, it was decided that the tribe of Simeon, a small tribe, would only be given cities within the territory of Judah (Josh. 19:1).  Not much is heard from Simeon after that.  Apparently, Simeon was absorbed into Judah over time and just faded away.
Many times, when the prophets spoke of great events among nations and the earth, what God said through them has taken a long time to actually take place, and some of those prophecies remain unfulfilled.  But everything God says comes to pass.  It is just a matter of time.  God has warned us that awful plagues are going to strike the earth which have not yet struck the earth, and He has warned us that an evil world ruler called the Beast will rise and brutally persecute God’s faithful children, but the Beast has not yet risen, and He has promised that Jesus will return to reign on earth a thousand years, but Jesus has not come yet.  Nevertheless, however long it takes, everything God has spoken shall come to pass.  It is just a matter of time.  
Let us live so that if any of those prophecies come to pass in our time, our hearts and hands are clean and we are prepared to overcome all things with peace toward God.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Right Way To Leave

Leaving a congregation into which Christ places you is a serious matter.  The connection God creates when He makes one a member of a particular body of believers is for life; it is a connection that can be undone only by another act of God.
The only godly reason for a child of God to leave a congregation is when he spiritually outgrows a congregation and God Himself leads him away from it.  And if God leads you out of a congregation, you will find you love that first congregation even more after you leave than you did while you were there, even if they have treated you badly, for you will have become more like God than you were before.
Paul is a case in point.  After Jesus revealed himself to Paul and he outgrew his fellow unbelieving Jews, this is how he felt toward them:

Romans 3
1. I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the holy Ghost,
2. that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.
3. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh

Paul was feeling how Jesus felt toward his fellow Jews who would not believe:

Matthew 23
37. O Jerusalem!  Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!  How often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not.
38. Behold!  Your house is left to you, desolate.

 If you have ever truly outgrown a congregation, this is how you feel toward those you left behind.  If you have ever truly matured in Christ to the point that the Spirit would not let you stay among the worshippers with whom you were worshipping, this is how your heart hurts for them.  You cannot hate them for not receiving the new and wondrous truths which God let you see; you can only love them and hurt for them.
If you are faithful to Jesus, you will, at some point, outgrow some others in the body of Christ who have not grown as they should.  The list of those you outgrow and have to leave behind will include some of the very ones who led you to the Lord, people you regard highly and love very much.  This can feel very uncomfortable and confusing for the young soul who experiences it, but if he keeps growing, he will come to see clearly that he has done the right thing.
Remember this, young believer, and let this be the standard for judging yourself in time to come.  If you feel contempt for those you have left behind, then you did not outgrow them; you left for an ungodly reason.  If you speak evil of them, you have not outgrown them.  If you were not open with those you left behind, if you did not testify to them of the truth you saw, you did not outgrow them; you left of your own self-will.  If, before you left, you did not humbly and earnestly try to give them something Jesus gave you, then you did not outgrow them, and your leaving was sin.
I repeat: The connection God creates when He makes one a member of a particular body of believers can be undone only by another act of God.  For as Jesus said, “What God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ezekiel’s Unbuilt Temple

Thou son of man, show the temple to the house of Israel,
that they may be ashamed of their iniquities,
and let them measure the pattern.
And if they be ashamed of all that they have done,
then make known to them the design of the temple, and its arrangement,
and its exits and its entrances; that is, its whole design,
as well as all its ordinances; even all its design and all its laws.
And write it down in their sight, that they may observe all its laws
and all its ordinances, and carry them out.
Ezekiel 43:10-11

During the Babylonian captivity, God gave the captive prophet and priest, Ezekiel, very detailed plans for a new temple, and a new layout for the twelve tribes.   These plans are found in Ezekiel 40–48.  The people of Israel had been taken into captivity and the temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed.  But there was renewed hope, for God had now revealed to Ezekiel a plan for the restoration of the nation.
There was just one condition, found in verse 11 above.  There, God commands His servant Ezekiel to show the people the new plans “if they be ashamed of all that they have done”.  Apparently, they never were ashamed of the wickedness that had led to the destruction of their nation.  Consequently, they never saw the details of the new temple and the new arrangement of the nation.
I wonder how many good things God has wanted to give His people, but did not because they would not turn from their own ways!  God has good thoughts toward us, and good plans for us.  Let’s not miss those blessings because of an attachment to sin!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Only Sinless Sacrifice

I thought you might be interested in reading this and giving it some thought.

I asked my father one time, “Was Jesus sinless before the Son of God came and took up his abode in Mary’s Son at the Jordan River?”  His reply?  “It doesn’t matter.”  Amen!  It doesn’t matter what you or I were, either, or how we lived before the Son of God took up his abode in us!  Thank God!

Here is the comment I added (as a footnote) to the Father and Son book today:

Even if a man had offered up his son as a sacrifice for the world’s sins, it would have been unacceptable to God because all humans, including Mary’s son Jesus, are sinful by nature, which would have made the sacrifice unacceptable.  Only God’s Son was sinless, both before he came to earth and afterwards.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Permanent Consequences

God was Israel’s king when they entered into the land of Canaan, and He ruled them well.    When they sinned, He corrected them, and when they walked uprightly, He blessed them.  But they looked around at foreign nations and saw others living without God as their king.  Those people could do evil without penalty because their kings were just as wicked as they were, and that kind of government was attractive to them.  Therefore, they approached the prophet Samuel, who was God’s chosen judge for Israel at that time, and demanded that they have a king.

1Samuel 8
4. Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah.
5. And they said to him, “Behold, you are old, and your sons walk not in your ways.  Now, make us a king to judge us like all the nations.”

Samuel was very unhappy with their request, and he talked to the Lord about it.

1Samuel 8
7. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Hearken to the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
8. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day, wherewith they have forsaken me and served other gods, so do they also to you.
9. Now, therefore, hearken to their voice.  However, protest solemnly to them, and show them how it will be with the king that shall reign over them.”

Samuel did that.  He warned Israel that they would deeply regret their decision to have a human as their king instead of God, but they would not hear him.

1Samuel 8
19. Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel, and they said, “No!  We will have a king over us,
20. so that we may be like all the nations, and so that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.”

Not long afterward, young Saul was crowned Israel’s first king, but in just a few years, he proved to be a very foolish man and led the nation into a pit of despair.  Everything that Samuel warned Israel would happen did happen, and Israel hated that they had demanded a king.

1Samuel 12
19. And all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants unto the Lord your God, lest we die!  For we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask us a king.”

Samuel, faithful as always, did pray for God to help the nation, and God, merciful as always, delivered them from their enemies.  But in demanding a king, they had shown great disrespect to their loving and generous God, and now, God would not let them change their minds.  They were stuck with an earthly king, and with the kings who would come after him.
There are some decisions we can make that we can change when we learn that they are poor choices.  And the results of those decisions can be ameliorated.  But there are other decisions that  bring about consequences which, even if we repent for making those decisions, we cannot escape.  Be careful what decisions you make.  Some of them carry consequences that you can never change.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Missing Spirits

Read the following verses, and see if you notice anything missing from them.

Number 5
1. And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying,
2. “Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead.
3. Both male and female shall you put out; outside the camp shall you put them, so that they defile not their camps, in the midst of which I dwell.”
4. And the children of Israel did so, and they put them out outside the camp.  As the Lord spake unto Moses, so did the children of Israel.

Leviticus 20
1. And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying,
2. “Again, you shalt say to the children of Israel, ‘Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that gives any of his seed unto Molech, he shall surely be put to death.  The people of the land shall stone him with stones.
. . .
9. Every one that curses his father or his mother shall be surely put to death.  He has cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.
10. And the man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, even he that commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.
. . .
13. If a man also lie with mankind, as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.  They shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

What is missing in the above verses is the touchy-feely, uber-tolerant spirit of our times.  God did not feel obligated to apologize for His judgments, not even for commanding the death penalty.   He did not give these people, either the defiled people in Numbers or the transgressors in Leviticus, the opportunity to complain about His judgments.  He commanded the lepers to be put out and the wicked to be executed, then He went on to another subject, with no explanation and no apology.  It was irrelevant how the people in these situations felt about His judgments.  Moreover, there was no delay allowed.  God said it, and it was done.  There was no long jail time for the wicked before they were executed.  Executions took place immediately after judgment was pronounced.
This generation is being lied to about what true justice is, and because of that lie, the fear of God’s judgment is being stolen from their heart, and as a result of that, they are becoming beastly in their actions.  “The fear of the Lord is clean,” David said (Ps. 19:9), and it makes those who possess it clean because it makes them hate evil (Prov. 8:13).  But those without the fear of God become more and more wicked because they have no reason not to do so – they think.
It is no wonder that Jesus will be hated by the nations when he returns to rule this world.  His judgments will be swift and severe as he rules earth “with a rod of iron” (Ps. 2:9; Rev. 12:5; 19:15).  His perfect, righteous judgments will be swiftly executed on earth by the saints who reign with him (Rev. 2:27), and those saints will be hated with him – just as they are hated now when they dare to declare the righteous judgments of God in their time.  
When Paul said, “If we suffer with him, we will reign with him” (2Tim. 2:12; Rom. 8:17), he was referring to the suffering that God’s children bring upon themselves by living godly lives in this world.  They have a choice, for if they want to, they can hide their light under a basket, as Jesus said.  But those who will reign with Christ are the ones who make the choice not to hide the light, and they then experience the truth of Paul’s words to Timothy: “All who are willing to live godly in Christ Jesus shall be persecuted” (2Tim. 3:12).
Let the spirits of this age be missing from your judgments, as they are from God’s.  Let your yes be yes and let your no be no, and offer no apologies for the truth of God’s judgments.  Everything that is more than yes or no – all the explanations and the worries about the feelings of the unclean and the wicked when they are judged – comes from evil (Mt. 5:37). 

Monday, November 9, 2015

When God Commands

If any man ministers, let it be done with the strength that God supplies,
so that in all things God might be glorified through Jesus Christ
1Peter 4:11

I remember my father many times making the observation that everything Jesus told his disciples to do, they could not do.  Hearing this, my mind would race through the gospel stories to see if I could find any commandment that Jesus gave his disciples that, in their own power and wisdom, they could do, and I would always come up empty.
Then, why did Jesus tell them to do those things?  The answer is simple.  When God gives a command, He creates the ability to obey it.  When Jesus sent his disciples out, he said, “As you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  Heal the sick; cleanse the leapers; cast out demons.  Freely you’ve received; freely give” (Mt. 10:7–8).  They could not do that!  But with the Lord’s command for them to do it came the power to obey his command, and they fanned out across Israel, performing miracles everywhere.  When he gave them his new commandment to love one another as he had loved them, they could not do it!  It was not possible for humans to love as he did.  But, not long after that command was given, the holy Ghost came from heaven and filled those disciples with the kind of love Jesus had (Rom. 5:5), and they were created as “new creatures in Christ”, fully able to love one another as Jesus had loved them.
Don’t be afraid of what God may ask you to do.  If He asks you to do anything, He will always provide you with the power to do it.  He will not fail you, so that you will not fail Him.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Our Warfare

In returning and rest shall you be saved;
in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.
Isaiah 30:15

The warfare of the saints on earth is to believe that there is no warfare, that Jesus is the only real warrior, and that he has already fought and won the battle.  The warfare is to rest, to trust God, to wait until the victory that Christ has already won for us is made manifest.  It will come – Jesus will bring it with him when he comes – and our trial in this life, the real warfare of all children of God, has nothing to do with politics or military conflict.  Rather, our warfare is to overcome the spirits of doubt around us and to live joyfully in hope in the midst of a dark world filled with unbelief.

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Answer

“. . . so that you may be faultless and innocent, children of God
without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation,
among whom you shine like stars in the sky.”
Philippians 2:15

What Jesus does by the Spirit to those who trust in him does not so much give them the answer for this wicked world as it does make them the answer for this wicked world.  Jesus makes us the light for mankind and the salt of the earth; he doesn’t just tell us about those things.  It was because Paul understood this that he exhorted the saints to “walk worthy of the calling to which you were called” (Eph. 4:1).

The Impossible New Way

Jesus did not suffer and die for something we already possessed or could already do.  If man possessed it or could do it before Jesus came, then what need was there for the Lamb of God to die to make it possible for us?  The “new and living way” that Jesus made for us was impossible for humans before he came.  And this new way of life includes nothing that the flesh can do; it is entirely of the Spirit and in the Spirit.  This is why Paul said that if we walk after the flesh, we will die, but if we walk after the Spirit, we will live.  We were all living “after the flesh” before Jesus came, but with his sacrificial death, Jesus made it possible for us to live a new way, and in this new way of the Spirit, there is no death.