“And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” Matthew 21:44 KJV
There is a great misconception about the Christian life. The overarching belief is that when we accept Christ, He changes our life. But that is not what He taught when He walked this earth and that is not what He confirmed to Paul and the other apostles. A good study of the New Testament clearly shows us that when we accept Him, our life is not changed through Christ, but it is EXCHANGED for His life.
Jesus taught that we must be born again (John 3:3). He never says that He will come in and work with our flesh, tame it, or compromise. He is very direct in His teaching that the flesh is tainted and unusable (John 6:63), but that when we become born again, His Spirit now lives within us and it is through Him that we have power to overcome the flesh. It is through His Spirit that we can know Him. It is through His Spirit that we can love others. It is through His Spirit that we can turn the other cheek when we are mistreated. It is through His Spirit that we can let go of our worries as we walk through the battlefield of life and trust God.
The only way to have true peace and true victory is through stepping out of the way every single day and choosing to let Christ live in our place. Paul called it crucifying the flesh (Galatians 5:24). If we are His, then it is not about what we want, our goals, our vision, doing things FOR Him. If we are His, then it is about Him doing it THROUGH us.
There is no compromise with Christ. We cannot be lukewarm (Revelation 3:16). It is Him or us. We must choose and we must let go of all of this life and take on His life.
You see, we must die to live. There is no other way and to try to live otherwise will stunt our spiritual growth (Hebrews 5:12), keep us defeated and make us vulnerable to being swayed by spiritual fads and “doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1) that leave us in spiritual danger.
All that will satisfy us, all that will fill us, all that will solve our problems, and all that will make us see that what we are experiencing on this earth is nothing in comparison to what we have before us in eternity is Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
If you are struggling, if you are in pain, if you are sick, if you are depressed, if you are worried, if you are anxious, if you are drowning in the cares of life as I was, YOU are still trying to live. Come to the end of yourself, fall on the stone that is Jesus Christ, and give all you are to HIM. YOU HAVE TO DIE TO YOURSELF TO REALLY LIVE. I had heard it a thousand times. I knew it and I finally did it. Now my only regret is that I waited so long, but God takes even that pain makes it sweet through His love, grace, and mercy.
Paul knew the way and he told us…”I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 KJV
“Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity, every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV
We wonder why our life is what it is. We ask ourselves how could it have become this? We commiserate with others because Satan is beating us down again and again.
Many people jump on every bandwagon that comes their way and think the next new Christian book has the answer, the next new Christian fad is THE formula for success. Many find themselves “tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14) in hopes of turning their lives around.
Being a victim and following every idea in the world except God’s is not the answer and it is not what God has for His children.
So, how did we get here? Our life goes in the direction of our thoughts. It as been so since the beginning.
God gifted this world to Adam–to mankind–and he handed it over to Satan with a single solitary action. That action started long before he took the bite of that fruit. We aren’t told his thoughts, but every action begins with a thought and we do hear Eve’s thoughts…so, let’s look at her and see where this all began. When the serpent began his temptation, Eve started thinking. Hmm, it was good to look at…it could make us wise…then thought became action and before they realized it, she and her husband had given up possession and dominion of this earth to the enemy and begun the cycle of death. It all started with a thought. (Genesis 3:6)
“We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” 1 John 5:19
So, we see that Satan is now the prince of this world (Ephesians 2:2, John 14:30) and this world programs us to think the way it thinks. It’s thoughts are fleshly, self-centered and prideful. Carnal-minded thoughts lead to death—spiritually, physically, mentally, and are in direct conflict with God. “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Romans 8:7 KJV)
But, we can control our thoughts. We can bring them under the submission of Jesus Christ. We can choose what we think on, what we dwell on, and what we put into our minds.
This is why holiness is important. It cannot earn us salvation, but it can protect our minds against the programming of death that this world so desperately wants us to experience. Every single day, there are hundreds, thousands, millions of opportunity to feed into the thoughts of this world. From what we watch, what we read, what we hear…From others and from ourselves. What goes in, WILL come out. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23 KJV
Our battle is with the thoughts that dominate our mind and our life. If we want a different life, we need to think different thoughts. If we want different thoughts, we need to feed our mind different food.
What should we think on? “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8 KJV
What is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, worthy of praise? God, His Son, His Holy Spirit. The Bible that He has given us. Everything that is in line with His Word. That is what we should think on.
If you think on sinful, ungodly things, you are being led by the flesh and, in so many forms, death is inevitable.
If you think on Godly, Christ-like things, you are being led by the Spirit and you will have life more abundantly.
Don’t allow the flesh to control your thoughts. Bring them into captivity and make them obey Christ.
“And be not be conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 KJV
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV
So many times we hear, “I’m just a sinner saved by grace.” The sentiment is that in ourselves, we are nothing…and THAT is true.
Before Christ, we are lost, dead, and hopeless. But we lose something important and we deny the scripture when we continue to refer to ourselves as sinners after we become born again.
Our Creator, God Himself, in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ, left the beauty and perfection of heaven to walk the dusty, lonely, and painful road to Calvary so that we can share in the inheritance of eternal life and live in joy, peace, and victory here on earth. He took on hunger, pain, rejection, temptation, fatigue and more so that we no longer have to remain sinners…so that we can be new and righteous through Him.
So no more should we refer to ourselves as sinners. By His grace through our faith in Him, we are no longer sinners, but we are His children, co-heirs with Christ, and will rule and reign with Him in eternity.
We are blessed.
We are righteous.
We are victorious.
We are healed.
We are justified.
We are delivered.
We are free.
We are loved beyond measure.
But we are NOT sinners.
We don’t practice sin.
Denying scripture and referring to ourselves as sinners creates a sense of defeat. It constrains our faith and opens the door to Satan to fill our minds with doubt about God and about who He made us to be.
You see, God loves you enough to die for you and He wants you to go out into the darkness of the world and reflect His love. He wants you to be the conduit for His Spirit and in His power go into your world as His representative.
He has given you access to His power, through His name, to heal the sick (Matthew 10:8) and have the boldness to tell others about what He has done for you and about His love, grace, holiness and about their opportunity to choose His righteousness and eternal life for themselves. (Mark 16:15)
If you keep thinking of yourself as a sinner, then it is much more difficult to reflect Jesus Christ (who was never a sinner) and the victory that you have in Him.
By telling ourselves that we are still sinners, we retain an old covenant mindset which keeps us focused on us and our sin rather than on Him and what He has done.
Let us stop being sin-minded and be Christ-minded. By keeping our minds on Him, we become closer to Him, more like Him, and we can walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16)–We can walk in victory (1 Corinthians 15:57)–We can reject sin (Galatians 5:16), and we can truly love others (John 4:8) and witness boldly to sinners. We can show them something much better than what they have and they, too, can become new creatures in Him.
Through the faith He gives us—the faith we exercise, we are saved and we are righteous. (Ephesians 2:8)
So, we are no longer sinners….BECAUSE we were…
Praise to our Holy Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ!
“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Jeremiah 31:33 RSV
“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” Hebrews 10:16 RSV
Our God who never changes always had a plan. He gave the law to Moses to share with His people to show them their need for a savior. Moses faithfully transcribed God’s perfect and beautiful standard and in doing so, God opened His people’s eyes to their inability to earn their salvation.
For once we have broken the law, we cannot go back. And we have ALL broken His law. (Romans 3:23) We were born into sin.
Many today wonder of the relevance of the law. Some have added to it and try to live by it, or some form of it–the scripture refers to the traditions of men (Mark 7:8). Others deem it irrelevant and live as they wish, knowing that we are now in the dispensation of grace. (Romans 6:1)
Paul was very clear in his teaching that both of these are inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our salvation is a gift given to us by a merciful God through grace because He loves us. Due to our sin nature we acquire at conception, we are spiritually incapable of keeping God’s law and being born with a dead spirit, we have no power to reject sin. We are slaves to our fleshly or carnal nature (Romans 6:20). And we are not justified by the law—it does not have the power to save us (Galatians 3:11). If it had, Christ would not have needed to die for us (Galatians 2:21). So, we are not saved by our own good deeds, but only because He offers us a gift of His own righteousness and we choose to receive it.
The law, though unable to make us righteous before God, still has an important purpose. It serves to show unbelievers that they need Christ, that they are unable to ever be good enough. And it reminds us believers that without Him we in our flesh are nothing. We are reminded to never fall back into trusting on our own goodness–this is pride and pride is a sin.
We can boast that through Him we can do all things, but not on our own. The law reminds us to give Him all the glory for the blessings and accomplishments in our lives for His kingdom.
Yet, God said He would write His laws on our hearts and minds. Because when we choose His gift, He lives within us and He is His holy standard. We don’t need laws because when we die to ourselves, then He lives through the vessel of our body that we offer Him and He lives holy and perfect.
His laws are now within us instead of on a tablet or a parchment. They are now part of us, part of our very being.
When our flesh compromises His laws, our born again spirit full of God’s goodness aches and is grieved because our new nature–our Godly nature–is not a nature of sin. Our new nature wants His holiness. It wants no part of sin and darkness.
Our flesh fights because it is still tainted by the leftover scars of the sin nature that dominated us in the past. But the Spirit of God within us is stronger. We now choose to be slaves to Christ rather than slaves to sin. We choose to let Him rule and fight the flesh.
But Paul, Peter, Timothy, the other apostles and our Lord Jesus made it abundantly clear that we have a choice everyday. We can choose to walk in Him and reject the world and its temptations–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:15). Or we can choose to give in to them.
But each of us must ask ourselves if we don’t hate sin, if we don’t grieve over our sin and we don’t want to walk in His holiness that is written in our minds and our hearts, then what are we doing? Do we really love Him? If we love the things He hates, then how can we love Him? (1 John 2:15)
We must reject sin and we must let His laws that He wrote on our hearts rule our lives. God loves us enough to give us a free choice and if we don’t love Him enough to choose to walk in His holy ways and let Him rule, someday, we won’t want Him around at all (Matthew 6:24). That is a dangerous road to apostasy.
For those of us born again, God’s law of love is a part of our new nature. His love leads us to holiness. Paul ever reminds us, “walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16).
Living true to our new nature and keeping our minds on Him will lead us to peace, joy, and victory over all the attempts of the enemy to derail us. Anything else will lead us in the wrong direction.
We are soldiers of this war that our Lord has won but we are temporarily in enemy territory and we must fight to enter into our homeland that God has gifted to us. Those of us who are too busy enjoying the enemy’s territory will lose sight of our goal and suffer grievous consequences.
Do not get distracted and take wrongs turns. Do not let sin reign over you any longer (Romans 6:12). This will lead you away from God. Mind God’s law that He has put within you and fight to enter in. (Luke 13:24, Hebrew 4:11)
Praise be to God who has delivered us from this body of death!
To God be all the glory and Praise to our Lord Jesus Christ!
This is a thank you to Faith on the Farm at farmgirl4jesus.wordpress.com for nominating this blog for the Liebster Award. My commitment is that this blog is about Him to bring attention to the truth of the Word of God which is being neglected, at best, and corrupted, at worst.
As this blog is about Him and not me, I am not comfortable discussing myself, but I will do my best to follow the rules of this award. Here are the answer to faithonthefarm17044257’s questions.
I love teaching the Bible. I am the youth Sunday School teacher at my church.
My favorite post I’ve written is An Incomplete Picture of God. This was God’s lesson to me on the simplicity and the complexity of God and His gospel of love, faith and grace.
My Dad was the most instrumental in showing me the way. My mother had a major impact on me as well. I thank God for genuine and godly parents.
I have always been an avid reader, but anymore, I read the Bible.
I don’t have a favorite non-Bible author.
My favorite Old Testament character is Hannah. She was a woman of faith…she believed God.
I often go to bed around 9pm.
Yes, I wear contacts.
I don’t have a favorite Christian music artist.
Yes, I love spicy food.
It usually takes me a couple of hours to write a post.
At this time, I do not know of 11 bloggers to nominate, but I will nominate Cathy at Peacemakers (https://giannina.wordpress.com). She is being a watchman in these late times. If Cathy chooses to accept this award, I would love for her to tell us 11 scriptures that have strengthed her walk with God.
Thank you again to farmgirl4jesus.wordpress.com! I will be praying for you.
And thank you to my Savior Jesus Christ. He saved me, freed me and is teaching me, and to Him alone be the glory.
“He drew me up also from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God…” Psalm 40:2 KJV
“You leave the commandment of God and hold fast the tradition of men.” Mark 7:8 RSV
Throughout history, religion has dominated people’s lives. From the Aztecs, Greeks, Romans, Jews, Christians, and even the most remote of tribes, people have worshiped something or someone.
Every person has a conscience that reveals to them that God is real and so is our sinful state. Romans 1:20 says “Ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature, namely, His eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse;” (RSV). Everyone knows…so, the conscience leads people to religion. They seek atonement to sooth their conscience. They seek value, or purpose. It leads to rules, regulations, and traditions. From there we see hierarchies, criticism, cliques, pride and meaningless actions without heart behind them.
None of this was what God ever intended. Our Creator wanted relationship and He gave us this earth to tend to, to care for and to rule in His stead. We were intended to love Him, worship Him, and walk with Him, talk to Him, to live our lives for Him. We were never supposed to know sin and the pain and destruction that it leaves in its wake. We were never supposed to worship ourselves, others, statues or anything else on this earth.
Yet, that is exactly what has happened. Even God’s people turn His covenant into religion and become enslaved by it. The Hebrews did it, the early Christians did it, and we, too, have done it. We pride ourselves now on not being religious, but that is exactly what the church is. It’s now the religion of ME–what I like, what I want, what makes me happy and comfortable.
Man has turned the truth of God into a lie and worshipped the creation more than the Creator (Romans 1:25). Even those who claim to be non-religious worship something—likely, that something is, at the root, themself. Pride is the underpinning of sin and religion.
Paul and the other apostles fought it and there have been men and women throughout history that have fought as well. There are those fighting it again today. They are in the minority and their greatest critics are the religious. The scripture says that they will be persecuted and even killed by the religious–those who believe they are doing it for God (2 Timothy 3:12, Matthew 10:17-22, Mark 13:9-13, Luke 21:12-19).
Paul, the apostles, and Jesus Christ Himself, taught that He bought our freedom from the slavery of sin AND religion, yet, even His people still cannot get away from either one. We are blinded by the traditions of men. It’s not the old church traditions that enslave us now, but new ones. Religion has had a makeover but underneath the new lingo, the new look, the new name, it is still religion. It is man made at its core and the truth of Jesus is still lost.
The scripture warned that this would happen making a way for a one world religion in the end times, so it cannot be avoided, but there are those of us that do not want religion, but have been deceived into thinking that this new Christianity isn’t religion because it doesn’t look the same as the religion of old. We have been slowly deceived into believing that because the church looks different, we are escaping religion.
God knew this and He warned us over and over to keep our lamps full of oil, to be watching for Satan prowling through false prophets, false teachers, false teachings, and the deception of our own prideful sin that perverts the truth of His Word (Matthew 25:1-13, 1 Peter 5:8, 2 Peter 2, Colossians 2:20, 1 Timothy 13, Jude 1:5).
We must stop and see that the face of religion has varied throughout time and still does, but, regardless of the face, it is all still traditions of men….Traditions of men that have perverted the truth of the gospel. Hence, Paul’s lifelong battle…
It’s not religious talk, following rules, proclaiming only parts of the scripture that we like or understand that comprise the life God intended we live.
There is so much more God has for us, but as the writer of Hebrews says, we still need milk. We are not mature enough for the meat of this wonderful new covenant that God has made with us (Hebrews 5:12-14). Sadly, our growth has been stunted by religion.
Why can’t we see that it is prayerful study and absolute reverence of His Word that will strengthen our faith and help us truly understand and walk in this life that we choose?
Why can’t we see that we MUST step aside and allow Christ to rule our lives? Why can’t we see that we must tame our flesh and put it under the power of the Holy Spirit?
Why can’t we see that this IS OUR LIFE? Not something we do, but who we are.
Our religion has brought us to reading every Christian book that floods the market, while struggling to even maintain a daily Bible reading habit. It has brought us to surround ourselves with comforting scriptures, but without the application to our lives. It has brought us to having a form of godliness, but denying it’s power (2 Timothy 3:5).
Our religion has made us just as sick, just as tired, and just as depressed as the rest of the world. We have presented an eternal hope, but haven’t given them or ourselves the hope that Jesus offered to us here and now. The church isn’t presenting the victory that Jesus talked about that spurs us on to living a life visibly different than the unbeliever. How many unbelievers look at us and want what we have? If all we have is an escape from hell, that is not enough to draw them to Christ. They must see the power of the Holy Spirit changing our life here and now as it did for our Christ and for the men and women that walked with Him. Many marveled at the changes they saw in Peter, Paul and others. They should be marveling at us today. They should see something so better than what they have that they are compelled to choose it.
But religion cannot do this and so the church–looking so vibrant on the outside is dying on the inside. It is not really faring any better than the world. It has changed from old traditions and ideas to new traditions and ideas. But with the same problems religion always brings.
We must let go of our religion of ME–what we want, what we have been taught, what we believe. We must humble ourselves before Him, put Jesus first, honor and study God’s Word as if our very life depends on it (It does!) and stand up against religion and choose to turn our world upside down for the absolute, unchanging truth of God’s Word.
“But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked fellows of the rabble, they gathered a crowd, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the people. And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brethren before the city authorities, crying, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also,” Acts 17:5-6 RSV
“Or what man is there of you, who, if his son ask him for a loaf, will he give him a stone; or if he shall ask for a fish, will give him a serpent?” Matthew 7:9-10 ASV
Life lessons…We have them every single day. We learn these lessons in many ways: From our own experiences, from others’ experiences, from others’ advice, from reading, listening, and watching. Life lessons can help us become a better version of ourselves and they can help us help others. But do those life lessons come from God?
Many people say that God sends these tough lessons that burn us, hurt us, make us better, and make us bitter. Is this what He does? Is this how He teaches us? Does He make us sick, give us stress, give us pain? Does He give us a stone when we ask for bread or a snake when we ask for fish? Does God heap upon our lives pain and destruction in hope of perfecting us?
Well…the Bible is His letter to us and in it, Jesus–God’s Word in the flesh (John 1:14)–answers these questions. Let’s see what He says.
“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?” Matthew 7:11 ASV
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17 KJV
God gives good things to His children. He does not change. He does not vary. His gifts are always good. We change. We fluctuate. We fight the fleshly remnants of the old sin nature we used to have before we became born again. But God has never had a sin nature. He NEVER changes. His gifts are ALWAYS good. Period.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV
The scripture is inspired by God and it is to be used by us to determine our doctrine, to point out our faults, our need for a savior, for correcting us when we stray and for teaching us about righteousness and how to live a holy life.
God gave us the scripture to teach us.
Are these trials and troubles God’s judgment for our sins? No.
Under the Old Covenant law, God judged sin. In the future, sinners, those who reject Christ, will be judged for rejecting Him (Revelation 20:11-15) and there will be judgement for Christians, not for salvation, but according to their works (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). But God is NOT judging us now. God is not judging sin now.
So, our trials, our pain and our problems are not judgement from God and they are not lessons He sends to teach us. Sometimes they are the consequences of our decisions, our own attitudes, our own sins, and our own neglect of the command to “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16).
Sometimes they are the consequences of living in a world full of sin, ruled by Satan-the prince of this world (John 12:31). “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” 1 John 5:19 ESV
But they are not from God.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12 KJV
Jesus came to free us from the worry of the trials that we experience. Yes, this world gives us trouble, but our peace is from within. It is from Jesus Christ–God Almighty–that lives in us. Christ overcame the world and all that is in it. We, too, can overcome through Him, if we choose to walk in Him. Every. Single. Day.
If we are drowning in mire of the trouble this world and its ruler offers, then we are not focusing on the right things. Peter WALKED ON WATER when Christ was his focus, but he began to drown when he looked at the storm around him and set his mind on fear instead of his faith in Jesus Christ.
It is a fight. We have to consciously choose every day to keep our focus on Him. We have to choose to think on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable,” “excellent, and worthy of praise.” We have to choose to keep our focus on Him and all of His wonderful and beautiful gifts. Our enemy wants to destroy us (John 10:10) and he will IF we let him. He will do his best to steal our joy and keep us down and distracted. But the Christ within us gives us the power to beat our enemy.
Pray for the Holy Spirit–for He is the source of power of God. We cannot win this fight on our own, but God Himself came to earth and will fill our hearts, minds, and lives with His amazing power and He will overcome all problems, pain and frustration in our life and give us a peace that when we stand in the midst of every bit of Satan’s destruction and the storm is roaring around us and it looks as if there is no escape, we will know better; we will be at peace. Like Stephen as having the face of an angel, when he was dying from being stoned, he had peace and forgiveness for his murderers (Acts 6:15, 7:60).
My friends, this is our goal—so much of Him and so little of us that we are not stirred by the trials and troubles around us.
He is our Rock. He is our foundation. He is our Father and He loves us.
We should love Him enough in return to credit Him with our blessings rather than blame Him for our pain.
Biblical illiteracy is killing God’s people. Study the Bible enough to know that when you hear anything that contradicts it, you can reject the false teaching. When you have that unsettling feeling that you get when you hear some religious teachings, look it up. Study it. Pray with a genuine desire for God’s wisdom. He will teach you what is right. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26 ESV
The Holy Spirit teaches us, Jesus teaches us, the scriptures teach us.
“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John 1:17 (KJV)
What is the picture you have of God? Is He a God of only grace and mercy? Is He a God of only wrath and judgment? Will you lose out with Him when you sin or does He overlook your sin?
For many of us, there is such difficulty reconciling the Old Testament and the New Testament. Knowing pieces, stories and token scriptures gives us an incomplete picture of God…It leads us to knowing about Him without actually knowing Him. Taking a look at the big picture the Bible presents to us, we can gain an understanding of how God has dealt with people throughout history and this will help us to see Him for who He truly is.
The Bible is a book of covenants. According to Merriam-Webster, a covenant is a “formal or binding agreement; a written agreement or promise usually between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action.” Since the beginning, God has been dealing with mankind through covenants. Adam and Eve could have lived forever (spiritually and physically) upon the condition that they obeyed God. A covenant is entered through free will, so through the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life, He offered them the option to choose His perfect plan or not. After Satan’s temptation, they questioned God’s Word and decided to rule their own lives rather than let their lives remain in God’s perfect control, they sinned and died spiritually which would lead to physical death, as well. He then explained to them the curse that their sin brought on them and, consequently, their descendants. Yet, He also told them that He would send a Redeemer to crush Satan and buy humanity back from death. God had a plan. One man’s sin brought death and there would be one man whose death brought redemption.
Here we see God’s covenant of grace. Genesis 3:22-23 (KJV) says “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man has become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever: Therefore, the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.” By His grace and mercy, God prevented Adam and Eve from eating from the tree of life and living forever in a doomed state of eternal spiritual death.
Although God was not imputing their sins unto them, sin began to destroy mankind. Pain, hardship, murder, hatred, bitterness, resentment, polygamy, etc., had become the norm and by chapter 6 of Genesis, sin was taking such a toll that God “saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth.”
Even after cleansing the wickedness through the flood, sin still abounded and the effects were felt deep for many years. Because of this we then see, God offered a new covenant, the law, to help slow the spread of the destruction of sin (Galatians 3:19) and to show man what His holy standard was and how people were not living up to it and could not live up to it on their own. The law shows us our need for a Savior.
Yet, the law did not nullify God’s grace (Galatians 3:17). It was God’s temporary, necessary plan. It provided a way for us to see that we cannot earn our own right standing with God and teach us that we need a Savior, someone innocent to offer an eternal sacrifice for our sin. We would never accept Christ if we don’t see the need for a Savior. Paul explained in Romans and Galatians that the law was our teacher. It brought sin alive by showing us that without Christ we are sinners and in our own actions, we cannot meet God’s standard.
The covenant of the law shows us just how much God hates sin and that there is a price that must be paid for sin—death. Either we pay for our own sin through eternal damnation (spiritual death) or we find an innocent man to pay for it for us.
Because Adam’s sin affected all people, a man born of his seed would not qualify. God’s seed would be the only seed that would be able to produce a human sacrifice for all people.
How beautiful the next covenant is…the new covenant is provided through God’s seed, Jesus Christ. When He was on the cross, He became our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). He paid the price that we owe for our sinful state and now He lives again and offers us the chance for eternal life once more.
God’s new covenant is open to all people. We can choose to regain our perfect relationship with Him and rule and reign with Him in eternity or we can remain in our sin and accept the payment for it on our own through death and eternity in Hell with Satan.
So, what is the complete picture of God? From before the law, during the law and after the law, God has never changed. He has always been and is still full of grace, mercy, and love for His creation. He has always hated and still hates sin and the death that it brings. He has always been and is still just and fair. Sin has to be judged and paid for. He will judge sin and demand the payment someday. We will all stand before Him and those who rejected Christ and chose their own way will pay for their own debt. Those of us who choose to give control of our life through Christ will rule with God forever where no sin is present and no pain and no tears will ever be.
Who is in control of your life? John says, “And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.” ( 1 John 2:3 KJV) If He controls your life, you will want to do what He says. You may still battle the flesh that is not yet renewed, and make mistakes, get off track, but your desires change and you give Him control over your emotions, your thoughts and your actions and you don’t live a life dominated by sin any longer. If your life is ruled by sin, examine yourself and talk to God about getting your life on track.
Everyday of our lives that we choose to give Him control, we will grow stronger in Him over time.
In Him and His new covenant, we are free–free to stop living a life of sin that wreaks havoc on our health, our family, our peace and our happiness. Free to walk in ALL of His promises. All it takes is a choice–a choice of faith.
My friend, God loves us. He is not punishing us. Christ paid a heavy price for all of that.
I charge you to look at the complete picture of a loving, just God and give Him control of your life–not in word, but in deed, with all of your heart. He can make your life here on earth so much better than you can. He gives you power over Satan and his attacks, peace in midst of persecution and a sure hope that someday Satan and all his evil will receive the recompense for all he has done to humanity.
If you haven’t made that choice, make it today. It is not too late, but soon Christ will appear in the air and take those who have chosen Him to heaven to escape the sin, pain, and evil of this world. Choose Him now. You will never regret it.
If you have chosen Christ, I celebrate with you and encourage you to seek His Word for the victory we have in His power and tell others the good news.
I would love to pray with you…comment or send me a message on the contact page.
To a complete and perfect God be all the Glory!
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Revelation 12:11 (KJV)
“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12 (KJV)
“And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.” Mark 4:26-28 KJV
“The sower soweth the Word.” Mark 4:14 KJV
Mark spends much of chapter 4 writing about Jesus describing the Word of God as a seed in the hearts of those who believe and are born again. This is such a powerful, yet commonly overlooked illustration of God’s Word. What does this parable mean and why in so much of the scripture does God talk about His Word?
Jesus gave us many parables about the Word of God–he refers also to the kingdom of God which translated means “royal power.” There is power in His Word.
It was His Word that was the seed for the creation of the heavens, the earth, and of all life on earth (Genesis 1 & 2).
It was His Word that was the seed for Mary to become pregnant. His Word was spoken, she accepted it in faith and His Word became flesh (Luke 1:31-38).
It is His Word that has healed us and delivered us (Psalm 107:20).
It is His Word that is the seed for our faith (Romans 10:17).
And it is the seed, that when planted in the fertile ground of our hearts and our minds and then carefully nurtured, in time (seed doesn’t spring up overnight) brings forth the fruit of holiness, goodness, faithfulness, love, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness and a stronger FAITH–the fruit of God.
Without the seed, there is no fruit. With the wrong seed, weeds appear.
Often, we want the fruit of God. We want to see God’s promises come to fruition. We want to walk solidly in the Spirit and have a strong faith that doesn’t waver in the storm. We want to see the “full corn in the ear,” a huge crop of all the goodness of God, yet, for many reasons, we plant little seed and what we plant, we barely nurture. Or we plant seed of doubt or destruction…Then when there is no crop or we find weeds of pain and fear, we wonder what went wrong.
God set up this world on the law of seed and harvest. What we see in our lives is a direct correlation of what seed we are planting. Christ was so clear that this life requires us to choose a path and when we choose Him, we must be diligent, just as farmers are. This cannot be a half-hearted attempt and expect to achieve a valuable crop of a victorious life that Christ promised.
Jesus Christ is the Word that became flesh. When we choose Him, put Him first in our life above our family, our job, our entertainment–When we love Him with the same love in which He loves us, we will plant His Word in our hearts and in our minds. We will study the Bible with the passion that we have previously studied other books. We will consciously choose to crucify our flesh so that we may know Him and we may be so full of Him that when the enemy attacks and the world squeezes us with sickness, pain, lies–It is His promises, His Word that comes out.
To get the harvest we want, we must plant the right seed and we must care for it diligently. We cannot just have a few scriptures memorized and quote them out of context (even Satan does that). We cannot offer a token devotion or prayer to God each day and expect to see what Moses, Elijah, David, Ruth, Peter, Paul, and John saw. We must know Him and His Word with the same commitment that they had.
We HAVE to know His Word. We must study it in context with which they were written, we must dwell on it, pray about it, speak it, and we must have faith that He, our great comforter, the Holy Spirit, will teach us all that God wants us to know (1 Corinthians 2:13).
God is faithful to His Word (Isaiah 55:11, Philippians 4:19, 2 Corinthians 1:20) and He will bring to fruition the promises He made. He took the first step–He spoke the seed and now it is our turn to accept it, plant it and believe–Just like Mary did.
So, let’s plant His seed today and everyday and walk in patience with a God-honoring faith that we will see His fruit over time. Then our testimony will be a bright shining light that will draw others to Him.
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:35 ASV
Love is the hallmark of a disciple of Christ. Our love should be the love of God and it should shine so brightly that when others look at us, they see Jesus Christ. But recognizing love has become so complicated because our world has redefined love. What is paraded before us as love is not God’s love at all.
Love today means “condone my sin, look out for my own best interest, make me feel good, give me an emotional high, tell me what I want to hear, never hold me accountable for my decisions, don’t ask me to do something that makes me feel uncomfortable or requires my effort. If you say or do anything that offends me, then you don’t love me.”
What is the common thread here? “ME.” It’s always about “me.” This isn’t love…This is self-centeredness which is ultimately the sin of pride. When we come to Christ, it’s no longer about us…It’s about HIM.
So, how can we know what love is? We need to look to God–the Creator of love, the epitome of love (1 John 4:8). What does He model for us? Let’s take a look at Him and see…
What do we see in Christ’s life on earth? Exactly the opposite of what we see in the definition of love today. Mercy, grace, forgiveness, holiness, selflessness…We see that everything Jesus Christ did was for others, not Himself. He healed them, He comforted them, He cried for them, He cried with them, He prayed for them. Our divine Savior gave up His comforts and took on the limitations of human flesh, took stripes upon His back and carried His own cross to a humiliating death orchestrated by those very ones He created, preserved, blessed, and came to save.
He did all those things, but you know what else He did? He did something that we see little of in our culture today. He told them them the truth. He didn’t tickle their ears and placate them. He loved so deeply that He was willing to tell people the truth even if they reviled and rejected Him.
When we let God’s love shine through us we will be more concerned about others than we are ourselves. We will do all the things that Jesus did and we will put others ahead of ourselves and that even means telling them the truth, sharing all of God’s Word…even if they reject us, even it is painful for them and painful for us. We should have the loving spirit of Jesus–not condemning, yet absolutely uncompromising.
Jesus Christ doesn’t compromise the truth because He loves, because He IS love.
And according to John 13:34, we should love that way, too.
So, let’s go shine His love. Let’s hate the evil that is behind people’s actions and words and let’s love them enough to give them grace and mercy and let’s love them enough to tell them the truth: that sin is real, Satan is real, but so is our amazing Father, God, and our Savior, Jesus Christ who bought us back from death and put us on the road to life–now and for eternity. Let’s tell them that they can accept the priceless gift that He is offering, if they want it. It is free, but it will cost them everything, yet it is worth even more.
” And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing. Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil; rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth; ]beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never faileth:…” 1 Corinthians 13:3-8 ASV