Understanding Kingdom Authority

the-kingdom-of-God-is-within-you

AUTHORITY

GREEK: Exousia ~ THE RIGHT TO INFLUENCE, COMMAND, CONTROL AND DELEGATE.

          When man was created, God established His authority over the earth and delegated it to Adam for a season. Adam was God’s steward over the earth, and He gave Adam specific instructions for his stewardship. We find Adam’s instructions in Genesis 1 and 2.

Genesis 1:27-28  So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Genesis 2:15-17 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

           When God created Adam, He gave Adam His own personal authority to use in making decisions and fulfilling God’s instructions for His stewardship. This authority is called FREE WILL.

          Free will was given to man so he could willingly choose, without any coercion or pressure, how he would serve his creator. Free will allowed man to express himself freely and creatively as he learned and grew in knowledge and experience. Unfortunately, it also gave man the power, and the right, to say NO to God.

YOU WERE CREATED WITH YOUR OWN PERSONAL AUTHORITY, A FREE WILL.

          Free will can potentially be the most destructive thing to the Kingdom of God. Exercising your free will in saying NO to God will limit God’s influence and power in your life. 

THE KINGDOM OF GOD, or THE KINGDOM OF ME?

          The Kingdom of God in your heart has boundaries. Operating within those boundaries enables God’s influence and power to flow into your life to meet your needs and the needs of others. You violate authority when your choices don’t align with the will of the authority you are under. When you violate authority it cuts off the influence and power of that authority. Not just in your own life, but in the lives of those you are involved with.

          We must walk in HIS ways, not OUR ways if we want the promises of GOD, and the power of GOD to be a reality in our life. Gods power only flows under the covering of his authority. His authority can only be exercised within the confines of His Kingdom. When you exit the covering of the Kingdom, you exit the flow of power. When you say NO to God, in essence, you establish another kingdom, I call it: The Kingdom of ME.

          The Kingdom of Me is established when you willfully say no to God. Saying “NO” to your Lord means that He is not your Lord in that area of your life, and if He is not Lord in one area, He is not Lord in any. Being Lord of your life means that He is the Master of ALL areas of your life. God will not invade and overthrow your kingdom, it is out of His jurisdiction. It would be a violation of your free will. If you say no to Him in any area, you are declaring that YOU are the master of that area….and you cannot serve two masters.

Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Say “NO” to God, and you’ve set up boundaries to keep God out of your kingdom. It is your own free will that determines the boundaries for both the Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom of Me. How you steward your will determines the authority that you operate from.

HONOR RELEASES THE POWER THAT AUTHORITY CONTAINS.

          Eternal salvation comes from your Savior, but the power to live this life, and the authority to subdue and conquer it comes from your Lord. When you honor Jesus Christ as your Lord, all of His authority is released into your life. If you fail to honor His authority as Lord, His power stays contained. Honoring authority releases the power that authority contains.

           The extent of Kingdom authority in your life is determined by your use of free will. If your will is completely submitted to God, you have truly laid down your life, you have denied yourself, your old man has died and you can now truly walk in the highest authority in the universe, the authority of God. This is your original design and purpose. This is what was lost at the fall of Adam. This is what Jesus Christ paid for and came to restore.

 

 

 

The Gospel? ~poem~

gospel1

What is the gospel and what does it mean?

Have we made the good news into something obscene?

Is it good news of blessing, prosperity, and healing?

This candy-coated gospel seems very appealing.

 

We’ve abandoned the message that our Lord has conceived

And embraced a gospel that has left us deceived!

Where did we miss it, was it one certain sin?

Or did we just allow a little leaven to creep in?

 

It didn’t take much to stray from what is true,

A self-serving gospel has perverted our view.

Repentance is the answer, it’s the only decision

That will help us restore God’s original vision.

 

The gospel is the message that Christ did conceive,

Our sin for His righteousness, if we’ll only believe!

Accept what He’s done, and believe what He said,

Let Christ live in you, and your old man be dead.

JC

Here is a link to more poetry on this site. Enjoy!

How to Know God’s Will

daly mna        

          The Old Testament is full of amazing stories that are types and shadows of our Christian life and the problems we encounter in that life. Understanding the significance of these events and what they point to in our lives today will give us the tools we need to navigate our life of faith in Christ.

          Let me throw a few thoughts out there that will help you understand some of the basics of interpreting the Bible.

  1. Many of the writings of the New Testament assume a pre-existing knowledge of the Old Testament.
  2. The Old Testament was written to spiritually dead people who had no revelation of the devil. Therefore, anything that happened, good, or bad, they thought God did it.
  3. The Old Testament Law was never meant to be kept. It was given to man to be broken so that man could see the futility of His own righteousness and expose his need for a Savior. This is why no man, except Jesus, was ever able to keep the Law. It is referred to in the New testament as “the Law of Sin and Death” (Romans 8:2) 

          Understanding these three facts will help you understand the writings of the New Testament and protect you from wrong theology.

          For this teaching we will focus on Israel’s deliverance from the bondage of Egypt and their journey to the Promised Land. This entire story is a type of our deliverance from the bondage of slavery to sin, and the Christian life of pursuing the New Testament promises of the Kingdom of God and our eternal reward. We are going to focus on one small part of their story which, I believe was a huge contributing factor as to why they didn’t enter the promised land. It is the story of the manna that fell from heaven.

          The children of Israel walking around in the desert for 40 years is a type of the modern day Church. It is a picture of us walking around in this broken, corrupt, and fallen world.

          While in the wilderness, God rained down manna from heaven to sustain them every day, for FOURTY years. They were required to go out daily and gather this manna that fell in the form of little pieces the size of coriander seeds. Through all the drama, through all the amazing events that happened on their journey, this was the one constant that they had to do to survive. How they dealt with this supernatural provision gives us a clue into our own spiritual lives and the importance of daily spiritual food to sustain us in our Christian walk.

Exodus 16:35 And the children of Israel ate manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.

          God gave Israel specific instructions on how to handle this manna. This was a way for God to test His peoples faith. You could only gather as much as you could eat in one day. Any more and it would rot and produce worms. It was useless.

Exodus 16:4  Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.

          God provided food to sustain their physical needs and to test them. This is a type of what He has designed for us spiritually. For us to live a successful Christian life, we need daily exposure to, and intake of The Word! Jesus Christ is the Word of Life, The Bread of Life!

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 

John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

          We need this spiritual sustenance to develop and fulfill what God has purposed for us. We need it to grow into the fullness of the stature of Christ. If we do not pursue relationship with Him daily through His word, fellowship through prayer, worship, etc. we become spiritually starved and try to satisfy our starving spirits with the inferior substitutes that this fallen world has to offer. Without this daily manna, we become dry clumps of clay, difficult for the potter to mold and shape into His likeness. We hinder the work of grace and quench the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives.

We don’t forget to give our bodies three square meals a day, so why are we feeding our spirits only one or two small snacks a week? Our spiritual health depends on a daily  diet of spiritual sustenance.

          It takes natural food to fuel your physical body. If you maintain a diet of healthy food in the right proportions, you will be physically strong, and able to move around, working and accomplishing what is needed in the life. If you only eat once or twice a week, or only eat junk food with not much nutritional value, you will begin to decline physically, become weak and be susceptible to sickness and disease.

          It also takes spiritual food to fuel your spiritual body. You need DAILY spiritual manna to insure you are strong spiritually. If neglect to feed your spirit you will become weak and susceptible to deception, confused about what God’s will is for you. discouraged and a prime target for the enemies attacks. Another mistake is to always read books about the Bible or listen to sermons about the Bible instead of reading the Bible for yourself. This can be like eating fast food in the natural. it is not healthy to live on that alone. Understand that these are just supplements to the real thing and they lack the pure spiritual nutrients to make you develop properly. You need to allow the Holy Spirit to teach you personally. There is NOTHING that can take the place of you own personal revelation of God’s word.

          If you are struggling to find God’s will, the best place to start is to fill your spirit with His written will, the Bible. I remember a certain minister telling me a story about asking God to speak to Him. He saw other Christians having these great experiences of God speaking to them personally and giving them direction concerning His will for their life. He was seeking God’s will about some big life decisions and just couldn’t get clear on what God’s will was. So set apart some time to pray about by himself. He said he fell across his bed and wailed and cried for about 45  minutes for God to speak to him about these things he was confused about. He finally ran out of steam and became quiet and the Lord DID speak to him! The lord said, “You don’t know what I have already said to you. I have said many things to you already in MY WORD. Find out what I have already said and if I need to say something else, I will.”

          That should be a revelation to a lot of folks. Open the Bible and find out What God has already said to you. God has a lot to say and he has written it down for us so we can read it and re-read it at our convenience. There is no excuse for us being ignorant of His will for us.

          Many places in the Bible we are shown the importance of daily keeping His Word before us. Here are just a few.

Joshua 1:8  This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

2 Timothy3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Proverbs 4:20-23 My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; 22 For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh. 23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.

John 15:7  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 

          We must understand that the Bible is God talking to us. We can’t take that for granted! If we really believe in God, the creator of the universe, the one who actually made us, and He has some things to say, shouldn’t we put forth the effort to find out what He said?

          His words are Spirit and they are Life. They are needed daily for our spiritual health and development. The Lord feeding the children of Israel with manna is a type of what we should be walking in today. We must put forth DAILY effort to ensure our spiritual health and growth. 

          I have encountered many people over the years asking the same question, “why doesn’t God speak to me?” The answer is obvious to those who are a student of the Bible. God has already said many things in His word. Find out what He has already said and He will surely begin to speak to you further. God wants relationship with you. He is serious about it. When you begin to take it serious a whole new world of light and revelation begins.

           God’s word is His will. If you are not sure what the will of God is for your life, you will find it by a daily pursuit of Him through reading and studying the Bible, worshipping from your heart when no one is looking, and giving yourself to having a hearing and receptive heart. This is what being a true disciple looks like. God’s word prepares your heart to receive His life and nature. It gives you direction and illuminates His will and plan for your life.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feetAnd a light to my path.

          God’s word is a treasure of riches just waiting to be discovered. I love how Job says it:

Job 23:12  I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.

          Look at the language, “… treasured the words of His mouth…”  Every day should be a new treasure hunt. The value that you place on God’s Word is evident by the time you are willing to spend on it. The value that you place on your relationship with Him is evident by how much you invest yourself in the relationship. The greatest investments you can make in this life are the attention that you give to His Word and your relationship with Him.

          When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, a part of that prayer was “give us this day our daily bread.” Have you asked for your bread today? Have you found your treasure today? …Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find. (Matthew7:7-8)

          A great way to read the Bible, get daily devotionals, and study the word of God is BibleGateway.com  This online resource makes it convenient and fun to explore God’s word in any translation you prefer. All Bible links to this site are from BibleGateway and I use it on virtually every blog post on this site. There is a wealth of study tools dictionaries, and commentary that will feed you spiritually and encourage you in your walk with God. BibleGateway also has a convenient phone app and a Scripture Engagement section that is a fun, interactive approach to learning the Bible.

JC

What is Grace?

When you think of God’s grace, what immediately comes to mind? God’s unmerited favor? His salvation, love or kindness? I am not going to argue those points, they are all true, but I will say that grace has a broader, deeper meaning and I want to explore that in this teaching. Grace is one of the most important words in the New Testament and yet it is not well understood and even taken for granted.

Luke 2:40 ~ And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

The grace of God was upon Jesus and to understand New Testament grace we should consider what was upon Him so we can understand what is upon us, for we are in Him. One of the greatest definitions of grace that I have found is:

 “The divine influence on the heart of man, and the reflection of that influence in the life of the man.”

 If you look at grace from the standpoint of divine influence, it automatically broadens your idea of what grace is. When reading the bible and you see the word grace, replace it with “divine influence,” or “God’s influence”. You will see that it fits and it will provide a deeper understanding of the scriptures.

 We really need to stretch our understanding to even begin to grasp the full meaning of grace and what it means to us as believers. The Greek word for grace is “charis,” In addition to charis, there is the word charismata, which is a word related to charis, but it is only used in reference to what have become known as the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12. I don’t think that anyone could argue that the those nine gifts are manifest by the divine influence of the Holy Spirit and the believer allowing that influence to reflect in his life.  

Acts 11:23 ~ When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.

This scripture refers to Barnabas SEEING the grace of God on others. This implies that grace should be evident. That God’s influence in your heart should be manifest in such a way that it could be seen outwardly by others. We have a world full of believers that have no outward evidence of the grace of God on their lives and therefore are not a witness of the grace of God to the world. Why is that? A part of the reason is legalism. Legalism is a belief system that attempts to establish your own righteousness by following laws, rules and religious traditions. The more we allow ourselves to slip into legalism, the farther we fall from grace and deny God’s influence in our life.

Virtually the entire book of Galatians addresses this problem of legalism.

Galatians 5:4 ~ You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Another important aspect of grace is that God uses people to impart it to His body.

2 Corinthians 8:6 ~ So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well.

          We see from this verse of scripture that the divine influence (grace) can come from other believers. Titus was urged to complete the grace that he started. His influence on these people was obviously of a divine nature, God influencing people with people. This is seen clearly in the fivefold ministry gifts described in 

         When I came to the conclusion that grace is God’s divine influence in my heart and its reflection in my life, I was forced to consider my definition of God. The book of James says that “God is love.”

1 John 4:8 ~ He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

With that understanding I was left with this thought; Grace is an expression of God’s love, and any time He endeavors to influence a person, it is because He wants to impart His very nature into that individual. Look at the first part the verse above, “He who does not love does not know God”. I believe that the main purpose of grace is so that we may know Him. To know Him we must yield to the divine influence of love (grace) and allow that love to be reflected in our lives.Jesus was the express image of God (love). He is our example. To yield to divine influence is to yield to love. Jesus said:

John 5:19 ~ Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.

 I think we can all agree that Jesus was completely yielded to divine influence. He only did what He saw the father (Love) do.

 

 Grace is the manifestation of the influence of God in you, with the intention that the influence is reflected in your life.

Gifts vs. Graces

This brings us to Romans 12 that most Christians interpret as “motivational gifts”. Paul is not talking about gifts, He is talking about “graces”.

Romans 12:6-8 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

There are 7 GRACES mentioned here: Prophecy, Servant (ministry), Teacher, Exhorter, Giver, Leader, and Mercy Giver.

 Look at Ephesians 4, where Paul starts talking about the 5-fold ministry gifts to the church.

Ephesians 4:7-12 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

You see how the order of grace and gifts are flipped in these passages?

Romans 12:6 says: gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us,

Ephesians 4;7 says: grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

It is clear that Paul is talking about ministry gifts in Ephesians 4, and graces in Romans 12. Many have called them motivational “gifts” having a limited understanding of how they work. But when we understand that they are graces we begin to better understand who we are, and why we do what we do.

What I believe Paul is talking about in Romans 12 is the differences in our gifts produced by the grace (divine influence) that is on our life. In other words, our gifting looks different because the divine influence in our heart is different. Look again at the text, and pay close attention to the wording.

To understand what a GRACE is and how it affects us, let us view them as glasses with colored lenses. When you are looking at life through those glasses, everything you see will be tinted with that color, and your actions and responses will be influenced by it. Your GRACE affects how you see things, how you deal with problems, and how you express yourself in your gifting.

For instance, if you have the GRACE of SERVANT, you see the world through that “colored lens” (GRACE). Maybe your gifting is an Evangelist. So it would be natural for you to engage in “Servant Evangelism.”

Your Grace determines how you think about things, how you approach things. For example: If your GRACE is a GIVER, and you are ministering to someone who needs healing, you automatically think of what you can GIVE to help them. Like buying them some books on divine healing, or sending them to a healing crusade and paying for the whole thing.

If your GRACE is EXHORTER, you may encourage them in faith, read some healing promises from the bible, tell them “this is nothing for God, you can beat this thing easy.”

If your GRACE is TEACHER, you think that all they need is to understand and learn more about divine healing and faith principles.

Look at the rest of that passage in Romans and notice how Paul starts the dialogue.

Romans 12:3-8 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry (servant), let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

When Paul says that he speaks “through the GRACE that is given him,” he is talking about the divine influence upon his heart. When he teaches, that influence is reflected in the life.

Grace is a big subject, and these are just a few small observations. However, grace is one of the most important words to us in the New Testament. We should endeavor to get as much understanding on it as possible. I hope this helps.

JC

 

Old Testament Law – Made to be Broken

law

          Understanding the purpose of Old Testament Law is the beginning of understanding your imputed righteousness in Christ.

          I’m going to make a statement that may be foreign to most Christians.

 “God never gave man the Law to keep, He gave man the Law to break!”

          Does that sound contradictory or confusing? It shouldn’t. No man in history was able to keep the Law, except Jesus Christ. Never has any man succeeded in making himself acceptable to God by keeping the Law. Didn’t God know this? Of course He did. So why did God give us a Law that we are unable to keep? So that we would come face to face with the fact that we are incapable of doing anything right or just apart from His grace.

Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.

          The Law exposes our true nature apart from God. It teaches us that we need something far greater than our own strength and will to please God. The Law helps us to see our inadequacies so that we can be honest with ourselves and say: “I am a sinner through and through, and of myself I can do nothing to please a holy God.”

          The Law was not given with the expectation of us keeping it. It was given in the full knowledge that we would break it; and when we have broken it so completely as to be convinced of our absolute need for a Savior, then the Law has served its purpose. It has fulfilled the role of a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, so the He may Himself fulfill it.

Galatians 3:24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 

          We are all sinners by nature because of Adam’s transgression. The Law makes that sinful nature manifest. When a holy Law is applied to a sinful man, then that sinfulness comes out in full display making the fallen nature of that man manifest.

          God knows who we are. the trouble is, WE don’t know who we are. The Law brings us to a place where we see who we are apart from Him and shows us our utter helplessness under the Law, and our need to be saved from it. If not for the Law we would never see how weak we are apart from Christ. We would continue in the futile pursuit of trying to please God with our own righteousness.

          The Law was given to make us lawbreakers, to expose our sin, not to the world, but to ourselves.

Romans 7:7-9 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.

          We need to have our weaknesses proved to ourselves beyond a shadow of doubt. It is at that point we are able to understand our need for deliverance from the Law. We must be delivered from the Law to receive the free gift of the righteousness of God.

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

“The Law shows us our need to be free from it. Free from our own works of righteousness so that we can see our need to embrace the grace of God and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.”

Law vs. Grace

          In a nutshell, Law means that I do something for God. Grace means that God does something for me. If Law means that God requires something from me for it’s fulfillment, then grace means that He no longer requires it from me, but He provides it for me Himself.

          Where we fall into trouble is our tendency to live by Law. We are far more comfortable with a “quid pro quo,” mentality. Do this to receive that, receive something for doing something. This is rational and easy to wrap our head around, but it is not faith. Faith doesn’t come natural because with faith, we don’t have the ability to understand everything. We feel the need to do something to earn what we have been given.

Galatians 3:19-25  What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

          Once faith in Christ has come, we no longer have need of the Law. We then must transition from operating under the Law of sin and death, to the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 

          Old habits can be hard to break. We are born and raised under the Law of sin and death. Faith in Christ, in His imputed righteousness, in our change of status from slaves of sin to adopted children of God takes a concentrated effort. Learning to live by the new Law of the Spirit is a process. We are born into this new life as infants, and for us to mature properly and thrive under this new Law we must reckon ourselves dead to sin, and alive to God by what Jesus did on the cross.

Romans 6:11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

          So why do we continue to try and live by the Law? Because we don’t understand that the Law was never intended for us to keep. It was intended to show us how futile our efforts are to keep it, and to expose our fallen nature to such a degree that our only option is to believe in our Savior.

JC

What is the Unforgivable Sin?

          The Unforgivable Sin is one of the most misunderstood passages in the New Testament. Understanding this teaching brings light to the core message of the gospel. With so many opinions and so little understanding about this floating around on the internet, I hope this will bring some clarity and understanding to this topic. 

          We find references to the unpardonable sin in Mark 3, Luke 10, and Matthew 12. We will be focusing on Matthews account for this teaching because it is the most complete, and gives us the proper context to interpret this passage. If you don’t read the entire text you will understand it as being denied entrance to heaven. This is not the case.

         The misunderstanding of this passage of scripture stems from not understanding the righteousness of God imputed to believers. Jesus is teaching about faith, not judgement. He is warning about the possibility of loosing our heavenly rewards, not our salvation. All rewards given in Heaven at the judgement seat of Christ will only be for those works judged to be done in faith. Works of faith are the only works that will stand the trial by fire.

What the unforgivable sin is not:

          These passages are referring to the promise of the Kingdom of God, not the Kingdom of Heaven, and yes, for now, there is a difference.

Defining the Kingdoms

          To understand the unpardonable sin, it helps to understand the difference between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven. In short, the Kingdom of Heaven is the place where God the Father dwells. It is our eternal destination if we are born again. It is a specific place. (not earth)

          The Kingdom of God, on the other hand, is on the earth, and in our heart. (Luke 17:21) It is the place in which, at any given time, Jesus Christ’s rule and reign is acknowledged. Jesus will eventually deliver this Kingdom to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24) and both Kingdoms will then become congruent. For more teaching on the Kingdoms refer to: Defining The Kingdom, The Kingdom of God pt.2, and The Kingdom of God pt.3.

          A common teaching is that a true Christian cannot commit the unpardonable sin, that denying Jesus is the only thing that is unforgivable. This is certainly true, but it’s not what Jesus is talking about. When you look at His audience (Pharisees) and consider the entire context of what Jesus is saying, you will see that ONLY a Christian can commit such a sin. Let’s clarify this.

        First, let’s look at the entire passage in Matthew that puts this whole thing in context. (All scripture will be from the New King James Bible unless noted otherwise.)

A kingdom divided

Matthew 12:25-37 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore, they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. 30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.

The Unpardonable Sin

31 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

A Tree Known by Its Fruit

33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

          Notice that the context of the unpardonable sin is sandwiched between the parable of “a kingdom divided,” and the parable of “the good and bad trees.” Notice in verse 31, immediately following the parable of a house divided, Jesus says “Therefore I say to you…” In other words, Jesus is saying, “because of what I just told you, I also say this about it,” and He proceeds to tell them about the unpardonable sin.

          In verse 33, He follows right in to the parable of the good and bad trees, which is another way of teaching about a house divided. This tells us that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is tied to both these parables, and in fact Jesus is using the text of the unpardonable sin, as well as the parable of the good and bad trees, to explain a house divided. This fact alone should help us from being deceived with most of the doctrines out there about this topic.

          The teaching on the unpardonable sin shows us that our house gets divided by speaking against the Holy Spirits work in our lives. It tells us how to keep our house, and His Kingdom, undivided, congruent, and in total agreement. It’s teaching us about accepting the fact that we are righteous, about being single minded about who we are because of the blood sacrifice. it’s about making our tree good so that good fruit will be produced.

          This passage holds an important revelation concerning our identity in Christ, the righteousness of God, the Kingdom of God and the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life that is enabled by faith. If you have a good grasp on your imputed righteousness, this will be much easier to understand. 

          Let’s start by defining some terminology in verses 31, and 32.

          The Greek word for blasphemy is; blasphēmía. It comes from ( blax, “sluggish/slow,” and phḗmē, “reputation, fame”) – blasphemy – literally means, slow to call something good (that really is good) – and slow to identify what is truly bad (that really is evil). Blasphemy also means “to speak against.” It is primarily a sin of the mouth but can be expressed in actions as well.

          Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit takes the faith principle of calling things that are not as though they were, (Romans 4:17) and twists it. Instead of speaking faith and eternal truth over something that is in opposition to truth, instead of speaking life to something that is dead, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit despises (lightly esteems) the Holy Spirit’s work and continues to speak unbelief instead of speaking words of faith. It calls things that were as though they still are, instead of calling things that are not yet manifest as though they already were.

Romans 4:17 as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;

          If the words and actions of a “believer” do not line up with Gods word, that means they don’t believe, regardless of what they think. To call yourself a believer and deny the truth that you have been made the righteousness of God is being a house divided, its calling the good tree bad. This is the blasphemy that Jesus is talking about. Jesus has made your tree good. For you to call your tree bad, even in the face of a recent gross sin, is blasphemy and causes you to have a house divided. 

          The Pharisees that Jesus was talking to were NOT believers. The instruction He was giving them was not about them, but about Himself. They were not capable of committing the unpardonable sin. This is why He said in verses 34 “How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”  Jesus was telling them that they weren’t even capable of speaking faith because of what was in them.

          It is when we speak against the Holy Spirit in us that blasphemy occurs. The most common occurrence of this sin happens when we speak directly against God’s accomplished work and fail to recognize the righteousness that was imputed to us. We deny Christ’s redemptive work through the way we talk about ourselves. In essence, we despise salvation and say in our heart that “What Christ did was not enough.” We do this by continuing to live by the law of sin and death, after Jesus has delivered us from it. This is offensive behavior to God, and there is nothing more He can do to deliver us from this deception. There is no other sacrifice that He can make to convince you to get on board with Him in faith, so the transforming power of His grace can actually produce good fruit in your life.

          If we could just bring ourselves to agree with the truth that He has made us worthy, righteous, and holy through His blood sacrifice, the Holy Spirit would be released to transform us into the reality of that truth. Our good trees would begin to bear the good fruit. If we don’t set ourselves in agreement with His completed work by what we say and how we act, we treat the blood of Jesus as common, insulting the Spirit of grace, and blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 10:26-29 26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

          The sin of blasphemy can be expressed in several ways. The most common way is to remain conscious of sin, allowing guilt, condemnation, and shame to rule our lives, rule our speech, and hinder us in our relationship with God. It is blatant unbelief in Christ’s accomplished work. I think this unbelief comes mainly from ignorance, not from a wrong heart. This part of the Gospel does not seem to get the attention that it should. Yet, when you read the New Testament, you will see that almost every epistle focuses in part, on this topic. The books of Romans, Galatians, Hebrews, and 1st and 2nd Corinthians are devoted almost entirely to addressing this.

“When we try to justify ourselves by our works (performance) after we have been born again, we blaspheme the Holy Spirit. We say, by our actions, that Jesus was not enough to make me righteous, and the Holy Spirit is not at work to change me.”

          Most Christians don’t understand the work of redemption, which changes who they are. God intends for us to start our new life where Jesus finished His. We must start where He finished and be raised up together with Him as a new creation. Dead to sin, and alive to God.

          We have reduced the gospel to a prayer that gets us to heaven, and completely ignored the truth that we can NOW have a transformed life through relationship with the Father, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the grace of God. This is the hope of the gospel.

Colossians 1:21-23 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

          The issue is, most Christians have not heard, or do not understand this hope of the gospel. The hope that we were made righteous and holy in the sight of God, so we could be restored in relationship to Him. The hope that sin has been dealt with and no longer is a barrier to that relationship. Not understanding what Christ did, and who we are in God’s sight prevents us from embracing the truth, and power of the gospel. We are NOW “holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed we continue in the faith”

          In the next two passages, we see this “hope of the gospel” mentioned again.

Hebrews 3:6  but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.

Hebrews 10:19-23  Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

          So how does this tie to a house, or kingdom being divided? First, we need to understand that we are NOW Christ’s house, the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can only live in a holy temple.

1Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

          We let sin separate us from our Father, AFTER He has paid the full price for it, and removed the effects of it from our lives, we are saying in our hearts that what He did was not enough. In our heart, we speak against the Holy Spirit, our house is divided. We attempt to stand with one foot in the Kingdom of God, and one foot still in darkness. We try to serve the master, Jesus, and the master of the sin, the law of sin and death. You can’t serve both. Jesus knew this, so he fulfilled the law and did away with it, and where no law is, there is no transgression (sin).

Romans 4:14-15 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, 15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.

Romans 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

          Theses two passages make it clear that sin is still present, yet we are not judged for it because there is no law to transgress. There is only the law of love, which is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. This is the law that makes us free. The law that makes our house undivided, and our tree good. This law sets us in agreement with God’s transforming power of grace through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

           When we live with guilt, condemnation, and shame, it means we have a sin consciousness. It means we are living by the Old Testament law of Sin and Death and not by the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. This is having a house divided and being guilty of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Sin consciousness establishes your identity as unforgiven, guilty, and worthy of judgment. It believes you still have the need for redemption. It sends a message that Jesus sacrifice was not enough to buy you back from the fall of man. It denies the holiness of the temple (you) where the Holy Spirit dwells. It says that Jesus was not enough to make you holy. Blasphemy!

          In  this portion of the lesson we will address what Jesus said about not being forgiven in the age to come, which is the key portion of scripture that has Christians all twisted up in their belief. Let’s start by reviewing our main text;

Matthew 12:25-37 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore, they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. 30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.

31 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

          Let’s start with the phrase that we see in Matthew 12:32.  “whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”  This is the part that throws people for a loop because they immediately think of losing salvation, or missing out on heaven. First, we will look at the New Testament and see what has been accomplished through Jesus sacrifice, and then we will look at the Old Testament for scriptural precedent, and example of the unpardonable sin. Any principle that you find about Christ or His Kingdom in the New Testament, you will also be able to find in the Old, in type or example. The Old Testament was written to tutor us to faith in Christ Galatians 3:24 , so the type and shadow of what Jesus is talking about can always be found in the Old Testament in some form.

          The King James version says “neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” The second word; “world” (KJV) or the second word; “age” (NKJV) is not in the original Greek text. The Young’s Literal Translation is fairly accurate. It says; “it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this age, nor in that which is coming.” The Original Greek uses the word “mello” for the last phrase, which implies an expectation of something intended or promised, so it should read something like this:

Matthew 12:32 (my paraphrase) And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man it can be forgiven him, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, not in this age, in that which is expected to come.

          Where we have missed it, is in our understanding of what is meant by; “neither in this world, neither in the world, or age to come.” The age to come” is talking about heaven, but not eternal judgment of hell. It’s talking about the judgment seat of Christ. the promise of reward that is attained by faith from operating within the Kingdom of God on earth. Only works that are done in “the faith” will receive rewards in heaven.

           Here is what this looks like: You faithfully attend church, give of your time, talent, and resources, you are faithful to the work of the ministry and even help to bear fruit in the Kingdom of God leading people to Christ. This would appear to be worthy of heavenly reward. In fact, you are waiting to hear the Lord say, “well done good and faithful servant,” but if you have denied the work of the Holy Spirit and continue to live your life by law and works, believing that your reward is based on your performance, you will have no reward at the judgment seat of Christ because your works were done in the flesh and not in faith.

         Not submitting to the righteousness of God is denying the Holy Spirit’s work in you and is blasphemy against Him. This will not be forgiven when you stand before Christ at His judgment seat. You will go to Heaven, but you will not go with rewards. You can be a zealous, on fire for God Christian and still miss it when it comes to submitting to righteousness and cooperating with the Holy Spirit. This has been a common problem for the Church from the very beginning. Look at what Paul said about the Jews in Romans 10.

Romans 10:1-4 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

          Obviously, Paul’s heart was going out to these Jews because he saw that they were sincere in their zeal and love for God, but they were ignorant of the righteousness of God that was given to us through Christ. Not knowing that the righteousness of God was available to them, they continued to try and establish their own righteousness through the works of the Law. This will only produce a sin consciousness.

          There are too many well-meaning, sincere Christians that are in the same boat as these Jews. They are ignorant of the fact that they have been made righteous, and that sin no longer has power over them. They still believe that how close they are to God depends on how good they are performing. Through trying to be good, and do good, struggling to NOT sin, they try to establish their own righteousness instead of submitting to the righteousness of God. This is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. There is no other sacrifice that can make them any more righteous. They are holy and blameless in God’s sight.

          The problem is that they don’t believe they are holy and blameless. They believe that if they fall into sin they are worthy of judgment and have fallen from righteousness. They allow their self to be condemned and they become a landing strip for demonic activity that keeps them deceived and oppressed with the lie that they are not good enough. The truth is, they are good enough, not because of what they did, but because of what Jesus did. To refuse to believe that Jesus sacrifice was enough is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. It is being a house divided, it is calling the tree that Jesus made good, a bad tree. it is the cycle of sin consciousness.

“Unbelief in what God has said about you is blasphemy. When you refuse to believe your creator, you are in essence, calling Him a liar. When God says, “I have removed the sin problem” and you still live as though sin determines your ability to approach God, you have blasphemed the Holy Spirit.”

          Let’s settle this terrible lie once and for all with the scriptures.

Romans 11:27  For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.

1 John 3:5  And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. 

          Here is the picture the scapegoat that was led out into the wilderness, never to return.  Jesus is our scapegoat for sins, yet he was resurrected from the dead. 

Jeremiah 31:34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

Hebrews 10:17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

          God has perfect forgetfulness!  If He forgets them, why should we continue to allow the devil to condemn us or why should we continue to condemn ourselves? 

Isaiah 43:25  I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.

Isaiah 44:22 I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, And like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.

          The stain of breaking God’s law is completely removed.  It was transferred from us to Jesus on the cross.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

1 John 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

           The word “propitiation” speaks of Jesus being a substitute. Jesus offered himself as one sacrifice forever for our sins.

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,

Ephesians 2:14 -16 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

          Sin has been condemned, abolished, taken away. We must learn to live our lives unto God as though sin does not exist. This is the first step in living unto righteousness. This is making the tree good. This is submitting to the righteousness of God and allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us to the point that even the desire to act out in sin gets removed from our life. This is living righteous conscious and not sin conscious. This is why Christ died. This is the gospel.

           If we don’t settle in our hearts the revelation that sin has been taken care of, we will not be able to function in our Kingdom authority. We will continue to trust in our own ability to live righteous, and by default, we will blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

          Sin consciousness establishes our identity as unforgiven, guilty, and worthy of judgment. It believes we still have the need for redemption. It sends a message that Jesus sacrifice was not enough to buy us back from the fall of man. It inevitably leads us to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. If we continue to live like this, we may still do works for the Kingdom of God, but it will be in our own strength, through our own righteousness, and when we get to the judgment seat of Christ, this will not be forgiven. We will lose our rewards.

The Judgment Seat of Christ

Romans 14:10-12 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.” 12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

 2 Corinthians 5:10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

          The judgment seat of Christ, involves believers giving an account of their lives to Christ. The judgment seat of Christ does not determine salvation; that was determined by Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf (1 John 2:2) and our faith in Him (John 3:16). All of our sins are forgiven, and we will never be judged or condemned for them (Romans 8:1). The judgment seat of Christ is not God judging our sins, but rather Jesus judging our faith in what He accomplished. (1 Corinthians 9:4-27; 2 Timothy 2:5)

          So many Christians “serve” in the church without ever understanding love. Love will never be understood without intimacy with the Father. The greatest thing about salvation is the ability to get close to God and become one with Him, just like a marriage. Until we achieve, or at least pursue that kind of relationship, we don’t truly understand faith and we will gravitate towards doing thing for God and call that love. It is a deception that is rampant throughout the church. The truth is, you can be a Pastor, a faithful giver, prophesy in Jesus name, cast out devils, heal the sick, and still miss the whole point of why you are saved. The purpose of your salvation is to know Him and be transformed to His likeness.

Israel’s blasphemy

         The first example we look at is Israel, wandering in the wilderness for 40 years and not entering into the Promised Land. This is just one of the many “types” in the Old Testament of blasphemy and not being forgiven in this world or the world to come. They were delivered from the bondage of slavery with a promise of a land flowing with milk and honey. They started the journey, they began the process of entering the Promised Land, but because of their unbelief, (blasphemy) brought judgment upon themselves and never entered in to the fullness of what God had promised them. They never received their reward, even though it was promised. Why? The Bible says that their words were stout against God. (blasphemy)

Malachi 3:13-14 “Your words have been harsh against Me, ”Says the Lord, “Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’ 14 You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, and that we have walked as mourners before the Lord of hosts?

          This brings us back to our main text. In the last portion, Matthew 12:37. It says: “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Israel condemned themselves by speaking blasphemy against God. It caused them to wander aimlessly for 40 years in a dry desert on a trip that should have taken less than two weeks.

          Every Jew from that generation died without obtaining the promise from God. Entering the Promised Land was their right. God gave them His infallible, unchangeable Word, yet through their unbelief, they disqualified themselves from entering that promise. God repeatedly confirmed that they were His chosen, favored people, the children that He loved with all His heart. Children that He prepared a wonderful inheritance for. The Promise Land is where God’s abundant provision, protection, and favor are accessible. The place where God’s children enter, and receive their full inheritance, but because of their words and actions of unbelief, judgment came instead. They never walked in what they were destined for.

          Israel started out strong, confident, with great expectation, but when hardship arose, or it seemed to take too long, they cast away their confidence and spoke against the promise.

          This is a clear picture of the present-day church. Christians are faced with the same dilemma today. The Kingdom of God is the Promise Land. It’s where the King’s resources, healing, protection, provision, and power are available. Not believing that He loves us, that He has changed us, and that He is for us, shows up in the way we talk and act, and it keeps us from entering the Promised Land.

          The Promised Land is not a physical place, but a spiritual Kingdom that resides within you. It is the realm of the King that is in your heart. It is the place within your heart and mind that God has absolute rule, complete authority.

          Israel saw God’s manifested presence and provision constantly. and yet they continued to question God and declare that they wanted to return to the place they were delivered from. Egypt was the place where they were in slavery. Countless times they disobeyed and despised God’s leading and provision. They spoke against God and His leaders, never believing that God was going to do what He said. They were faithless, even in the sight of some of the most spectacular signs and miracles ever recorded. They constantly “spoke against” (blasphemy) God and his leaders. Even though they had a promise of a new and wonderful land, they died before ever walking in it because of their blasphemy.

          Israel is a type of the modern Church, and the Promised Land is a type of the Kingdom of God. Christians that get saved and try to “be good” in their own strength will continue to indulge in their old lifestyle, gravitate to old habits and old thought patterns, and eventually desire their old life more than God. By not counting themselves dead to sin and alive to God, engaging Him in relationship, they are blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

Instead of the relationship of sons and daughters, we embrace the religion and legalism of hired servants. This is not God’s plan.”

Galatians 4:6-10  And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of[ God through Christ. But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. 9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?

         Just like Israel, some Christians will want to turn back to the slavery of sin. Why is that? Because they haven’t submitted to the righteousness of God. Instead, they try to establish their own righteousness by struggling to do good and be good. Not realizing that they have embarked on an impossible task, they soon become discouraged and downcast because of the complete futility of their endeavor. They look at the bad fruit on their tree and get confused, calling their tree bad, and blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

          You are a good tree. Jesus made you that way at the new birth. As long as you keep calling the tree good you are not capable of producing bad fruit. Remember. where there is no law, there is no transgression. (Romans 4:15) However, if you choose to live by the law anyway, you will be judged by the law and you call the tree bad after Jesus has made it good. You blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

Moses blasphemy

          Now consider Moses, the leader of God’s people, God’s chosen man. A man of tremendous faith and power. The Bible says that he didn’t sanctify God in the sight of God’s people. Moses was punished for blasphemy. Striking the rock instead of speaking to it is symbolic of what Christians do today. The Rock is Jesus, the water is a type of Holy Spirit. Striking the rock is a type of Jesus being stricken, smitten of God, wounded for our transgressions. (Isaiah 53:4-5) and Jesus only had to make that sacrifice ONCE!

Hebrews 10:12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 

Hebrews 7:27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.

          When Moses struck the rock instead of speaking to it, it was a type of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. The rock was struck years before. This time Moses was commanded to speak to the rock, but struck it again instead. This is a type of wounding Jesus a second time for our sins. It is a type of the Church not believing that Jesus blood was enough to make us holy and acceptable.

Hebrews 6:4-6  For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

Numbers 20:10 Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?”

          Notice the words “shall we.” Moses is acting as if He and Aaron are the responsible party for the miracles rather than acknowledging God as the cause. They are taking the credit when the credit belongs to God. Shall we bring you water from this rock yet again? This is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. This blasphemy is not forgiven, Moses pays for this sin by not being allowed into the promised land. Moses lost his reward. When we try to take credit for our righteousness, we do the same thing. When we choose to live by the law instead of by the Spirit, we do the same thing.

           It is also why Jesus never takes credit for His miracles, but acknowledges that nothing He does is of Himself. He says the power is not His. Instead He points to the Father as the reason for all that He says and all that He has done. He claims that the Spirit is within him. He says the Father is with Him and He does the works. 

          These are just a few Old Testament types of the unpardonable sin. I hope this teaching sheds light on this topic, as well as the righteousness of God and what is available to us as Christians. I welcome any questions, comments or insights. God bless you.

JC

 

~ Spiritual Ears ~

111ear1

John 10:27 ~ My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they
follow Me.

          One of the greatest days of my life was when I discovered that God speaks to His people personally. I thought I had “arrived” at that point, because I had already made up my mind to do what God said. Unfortunately, I found that when you learn to hear God’s voice you then become a genuine threat to the Devil and he goes to work on you to disrupt and confuse the hearing process.

          Before we dive into some of the things I have learned to fight this attack on our spiritual hearing, I want to share a brief testimony on when and how I discovered that God speaks to His people. This is important, because before you learn to hear from God, you must first be absolutely convinced that He will talk to you.

The Day I Heard God

          It was November 1988 and I had been saved about two weeks. I had almost no interaction with other Christians for those two weeks because after I was saved, I left town on a job. During those two weeks I had read a little paperback New Testament at night in the hotel room where I was staying. It was the only Bible I had ever been exposed to and I was reading it like a starving man.

          When I returned home I sought out the people who had prayed the prayer of salvation with me and I had a million questions. I wanted to know more about this wonderful thing that happened to me called salvation.

          They invited me to a bible study that night and I when I showed up, the house was full of people who were engaged in this discussion about how God had spoken to this one individual a few days ago. As I listened skeptically, one by one they all related stories of how God had spoken to them. I thought they were ALL NUTS!

          My Idea of God was somewhat shaken by all this conversation and I wanted some answers. I had to know if this was real or just a bunch of weirdoes that went off the deep end, so I politely asked, “what exactly do you mean by God spoke to me?”

          A woman named Diane explained to me that God does speak in our hearts, and that we can learn to hear His voice. She went on to add that every night for one whole year she would lay in bed at night and pray, “God, you are my father and I am your child, and I should know my father’s voice, so I am asking you to speak to me.”

          Many more words were said and a lot of instruction was given, but what she said stuck with me and I could not get it out of my mind. To help me in my new faith, the group gave me a brand new Amplified bible. I was so excited! I had never seen the Old Testament before and was looking forward to exploring it.

          On the long drive home I was wrestling with all this new information about how God speaks to people and I just couldn’t bring myself to accept it. So when I got home, I went to the bedroom, dropped my new bible next to the bed, kicked off my cloths and laid down staring at the ceiling.

          With arms crossed, laying there in the dark, I decided to put this woman’s method to the test. So I prayed, “God if you really do speak to people I have to know it for myself. So I am going to lay here until You talk to me if I have to lay here until daylight.” I was dead serious!

          I was not prepared for what happened. Immediately I heard this strong voice inside me say “Samuel 3.” I sat up on the edge of the bed and turned on the light. I can’t explain exactly how I felt. I was a little shaken, a little scared, but I knew one thing for sure, that did not come from me because I did not know what “Samuel 3” meant.

          As I was sitting there on the edge of my bed, wondering if that was God that spoke or just my overactive imagination, I looked down on the floor between my feet and saw the new Bible. At that point in my life, I had never read one word in the Old Testament, but I picked it up and turned to the table of contents thinking this might be a scripture. When I saw the books of first and second Samuel, I was completely shocked! I felt like my heart was about to pump out of my chest. I asked the Lord, “which one?” and that same voice came again, only this time it was not a strong inward voice, but a still small voice, and it said, “First Samuel 3,”

          You may know the story. The prophet Samuel was just a boy. He was laying in his bed one night, (just like me) and the Lord came and spoke to him (just like me). The boy ran in to the priest because he thought the priest had called him. You see, Samuel did not know God’s voice either (just like me). This happened to Samuel three times until Eli the priest had to tell Samuel that the Lord was talking. God brought me to a place in the bible that I was experiencing at that very moment! He affirmed that He was my Father and that He wanted to speak to me!

          It was at that point that I stepped over the line from believing that God is real, to absolutely KNOWING that God is real, alive, and speaks to His people. I was on top of the world! The creator of the universe had just spoken to me in such a personal way that even my pea brain couldn’t get confused about it.

          For weeks I was in this euphoric place where I was constantly talking to, and listening to God. He was fathering me, and I was doing my best to be a good son. Then I realized that it was getting increasingly harder to discern God’s voice. I blamed it on not praying enough, not reading enough bible, sin, etc. and this is where most Christians miss it. Like me, they believe all of that garbage and fall into the enemy’s trap of deception and confusion. In this lesson we will look at some things that impede your ability to hear clearly from God.

The Frequency of God

 111ear9         When you tune in to a radio station you have to adjust the dial to a specific frequency on your radio if you want to have a clear reception. If the frequency is off  by just a little bit, the reception becomes distorted with static and hard to hear. God has His own frequency that allows you to hear a clear, strong reception. That frequency is PEACE.

          Your heart is the radio, but that radio has to be tuned in to the right frequency to pick up the reception. If you drive your car to the radio station and park it so the bumper is touching the radio tower, you still won’t pick up a reception unless you tune the radio in to the proper channel.

          Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you go to church and park your keister in a pew twice a week that you are going to be tuned in to hearing God’s voice. Your heart must be “tuned” to hear God’s voice.

1 Kings 19:11-13 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. 13 So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

111ear3        Just like a radio frequency, storms can interfere with your reception. In the verses above we see that God was not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire. This was not an “act of God,” but an attack of the enemy to take Elijah out. To keep Him from hearing from God and make him continue down this pity party road that he had started on. Elijah even asked God to let him die. This was right after his famous showdown with the prophets of Baal where God consumed 400 false prophets with fire.

          It doesn’t take long to go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, but as Christians we are called to shine through it all. The enemy knows that if he can cause enough static he can keep you from being clear on God’s plan for your life. The more he can disrupt and interfere with the communication between you and God the less successful you will be in fulfilling your created purpose. That is what Satan is after, your purpose.

          Your created purpose is son-ship. In the Garden of Eden, Peace with God was lost, and therefore the father child relationship was broken. Jesus restored Peace, and through Him we now have the Father son relationship restored. When we begin to walk in the fullness of our son-ship the enemy is rendered powerless. This relationship between you and God is ALWAYS Satan’s main target. If he can keep you from being Fathered, he can keep you from becoming like your Father.

Many Voices

          When trying to hear from God, we must be able to filter through all the other voices that are speaking to us. If you have ever been in a crowd of people where everyone is trying to talk to you at once, you know that it is very difficult pick out and hear just one voice. That is when you raise your hands and yell “ONE AT A TIME PLEASE!” Often we need to do that spiritually. We take one voice at a time, one thought at a time, and bring it into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

          Cutting through all the thoughts, bad reports, symptoms, and strongholds of wrong thinking is the spiritual battle that we are engaged in. This never stops. The enemy, your carnal nature, memories of bad experiences, and just life in general are constantly speaking to you. You must learn to find that quiet peaceful place in the presence of God that His voice can be clearly distinguished above all the clamor.

111ear8

          Worship is the best way to make this happen. I’m not talking about your worship service at church once or twice a week, although that is important. I’m talking about you, all alone in your bedroom, when no one else is looking, worshiping God from your heart. Desiring Him enough to spend time with Him alone, telling Him how much you love and appreciate Him. Pouring out your heart and being open and vulnerable. No effort you make toward God will ever go unrewarded. If you draw close to Him, He will draw close to you.

James 4:7-8  Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

          Christians tend to focus too much on resisting the Devil. Constantly praying about the devil, binding, loosing, rebuking. Don’t spend time resisting the devil, spend time submitting to God. This is the best, and only way, to resist the devil. By submitting to God, you have automatically resisted the devil. You now fight in His strength and not yours. You acknowledge that Satan is a defeated foe, that the victory has already been won. Now take your stand and enforce the victory by submitting to your Father.

STOP FIGHTING A FIGHT THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN WON FOR YOU!

Willingness to Obey

 111ear4         One of the biggest thing that prevents people from hearing from God is unwillingness to obey what He says. If you ask God for something and you are not willing to hear a “no,” He may not even talk to you about it because He knows your mind is already made up.

          There is a popular teaching that’s been around for years called “The five love languages.” It teaches you to identify and recognize your spouses needs so that you can better meet those needs and prevent tension and strife in your relationship. Well, God has a love language, and that love language is obedience.

John 14:16  If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever

John 14:21  He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

John 14:23-24 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.

          These three passages are from one chapter in the Bible. Jesus is trying to prepare His disciples for a life in the Spirit. He is giving clear instructions about how our love for God is to be expressed. He is also teaching them that this is the key to having God manifest in your life.

Isaiah 1:19 If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land.

          Willingness and obedience are a cornerstone of the Christian faith. It is the number one way to express love for your Father. Love is the fulfillment of the Law. It is THE New Testament commandment. (Mark 12:30) It is THIS love that makes your faith work.

Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

          Read more about how to develop your spiritual ears Here

The Unpardonable Sin. pt.2

What is ? Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

Part 2. “…in the age to come.”

          In the second half of this teaching we will address what Jesus said about not being forgiven in the age to come, which is the key portion of scripture that has Christians all twisted up in their belief. Let’s start by reviewing our main text;

Matthew 12:25-37 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore, they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. 30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.

The Unpardonable Sin

31 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

A Tree Known by Its Fruit

33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart  brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

          In this part of the lesson we will start with the phrase that we see in Matthew 12:32.  “whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”  This is the part that throws people for a loop because they immediately think of losing salvation, or missing out on heaven. First, we will look at the New Testament and see what has been accomplished through Jesus sacrifice, and then we will look at the Old Testament for scriptural precedent, and example of the unpardonable sin. Any principle that you find about Christ or His Kingdom in the New Testament, you will also be able to find in the Old, in type or example. The Old Testament was written to tutor us to faith in Christ Galatians 3:24 , so the type and shadow of what Jesus is talking about can always be found in the Old Testament in some form.

          The King James version says “neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” The second word; “world” (KJV) or the second word; “age” (NKJV) is not in the original Greek text. The Young’s Literal Translation is fairly accurate. It says; “it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this age, nor in that which is coming.” The Original Greek uses the word “mello” for the last phrase, which implies an expectation of something intended or promised, so it should read something like this:

Matthew 12:32 (my paraphrase) And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man it can be forgiven him, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, not in this age, in that which is expected to come.

          Where we have missed it, is in our understanding of what is meant by; ”neither in this world, neither in the world, or age to come.” The age to come” is talking about heaven, but not eternal judgment of hell. It’s talking about the judgment seat of Christ. the promise of reward that is attained by faith from operating within the Kingdom of God on earth. Only works that are done in “the faith” will receive rewards in heaven.

           Here is what this looks like: You faithfully attend church, give of your time, talent, and resources, you are faithful to the work of the ministry and even help to bear fruit in the Kingdom of God leading people to Christ. This would appear to be worthy of heavenly reward. In fact, you are waiting to hear the Lord say, “well done good and faithful servant,” but if you have denied the work of the Holy Spirit and continue to live your life by law and works, believing that your reward is based on your performance, you will have no reward at the judgment seat of Christ because your works were done in the flesh and not in faith.

          unpard7Not submitting to the righteousness of God is denying the Holy Spirit’s work in you and is blasphemy against Him. This will not be forgiven when you stand before Christ at His judgment seat. You will go to Heaven, but you will not go with rewards. You can be a zealous, on fire for God Christian and still miss it when it comes to submitting to righteousness and cooperating with the Holy Spirit. This has been a common problem for the Church from the very beginning. Look at what Paul said about the Jews in Romans 10.

Romans 10:1-4 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

          Obviously Paul’s heart was going out to these Jews because he saw that they were sincere in there zeal and love for God, but they were ignorant of the righteousness of God that was given to us through Christ. Not knowing that the righteousness of God was available to them, they continued to try and establish their own righteousness through the works of the Law. This will only produce a sin consciousness.

          There are too many well meaning, sincere Christians that are in the same boat as these Jews. They are ignorant of the fact that they have been made righteous, and that sin no longer has power over them. They still believe that how close they are to God depends on how good they are performing. Through trying to be good, and do good, struggling to NOT sin, they try to establish their own righteousness instead of submitting to the righteousness of God. This is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. There is no other sacrifice that can make them any more righteous. They are holy and blameless in God’s sight.

          unpard8The problem is that they don’t believe they are holy and blameless. They believe that if they fall into sin they are worthy of judgment and have fallen from righteousness. They allow their selves to be condemned and they become a landing strip for demonic activity that keeps them deceived and oppressed with the lie that they are not good enough. The truth is, they are good enough, not because of what they did, but because of what Jesus did. To refuse to believe that Jesus sacrifice was enough is blaspheme the Holy Spirit. It is being a house divided, it is calling the tree that Jesus made good, a bad tree. it is the cycle of sin consciousness.

“Unbelief in what God has said about you is blasphemy. When you refuse to believe your creator, you are in essence, calling Him a liar. When God says, “I have removed the sin problem” and you still live as though sin determines your ability to approach God, you have blasphemed the Holy Spirit.”

          Let’s settle this terrible lie once and for all with the scriptures.

Romans 11:27  For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.

1 John 3:5  And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. 

          Here is the picture the scapegoat that was led out into the wilderness, never to return.  Jesus is our scapegoat for sins, yet he was resurrected from the dead. 

Jeremiah 31:34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

Hebrews 10:17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

          God has perfect forgetfulness!  If He forgets them, why should we continue to allow the devil to condemn us or why should we continue to condemn ourselves? 

Isaiah 43:25  I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake;
And I will not remember your sins.

Isaiah 44:22 I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions,
And like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.

          The stain of breaking God’s law is completely removed.  It was transferred from us to Jesus on the cross.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

1 John 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

           The word “propitiation” speaks of Jesus being a substitute. Jesus offered himself as one sacrifice for ever for our sins.

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,

Ephesians 2:14 -16 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

          Sin has been condemned, abolished, taken away. We must learn to live our lives unto God as though sin does not exist. This is the first step in living unto righteousness. This is making the tree good. This is submitting to God and allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us to the point that even the desire to act out in sin gets removed from our life. This is living righteous conscious and not sin conscious. This is why Christ died.

000           If we don’t settle in our hearts the revelation that the sin the problem has been taken care of, we will not be able to function in our Kingdom authority. We will continue to trust in our own ability to live righteous, and by default, we will blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

          Sin consciousness establishes our identity as unforgiven, guilty, and worthy of judgment. It believes we still have the need for redemption. It sends a message that Jesus sacrifice was not enough to buy us back from the fall of man. It inevitably leads us to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. If we continue to live like this, we may still do works for the Kingdom of God, but it will be in our own strength, through our own righteousness, and when we get to the judgment seat of Christ, this will not be forgiven. We will lose our rewards.

The Judgment Seat of Christ

Romans 14:10-12 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written: As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.” 12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

 2 Corinthians 5:10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

          The judgment seat of Christ, involves believers giving an account of their lives to Christ. The judgment seat of Christ does not determine salvation; that was determined by Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf (1 John 2:2) and our faith in Him (John 3:16). All of our sins are forgiven, and we will never be judged or condemned for them (Romans 8:1). The judgment seat of Christ is not God judging our sins, but rather Jesus judging our faith in what He accomplished. (1 Corinthians 9:4-27; 2 Timothy 2:5)

          So many Christians “serve” in the church without ever understanding love. Love will never be understood without intimacy with the Father. The greatest thing about salvation is the ability to get close to God and become one with Him, just like a marriage. Until we achieve, or at least pursue that kind of relationship, we don’t truly understand faith and we will gravitate towards doing thing for God and call that love. It is a deception that is rampant throughout the church. The truth is, you can be a Pastor, a faithful giver, prophesy in Jesus name, cast out devils, heal the sick, and still miss the whole point of why you are saved. The purpose of your salvation is to know Him and be transformed to His likeness.

Israel’s blasphemy

         The first example we look at is Israel, wandering in the wilderness for 40 years and not entering into the Promised Land. This is just one of the many “types” in the Old Testament of blasphemy and not being forgiven in this world or the world to come. They were delivered from the bondage of slavery with a promise of a land flowing with milk and honey. They started the journey, they began the process of entering the Promised Land, but because of their unbelief, (blasphemy) brought judgment upon themselves and never entered in to the fullness of what God had promised them. They never received their reward, even though it was promised. Why? The Bible says that their words were stout against God. (blasphemy)

Malachi 3:13-14 “Your words have been harsh against Me, ”Says the Lord, “Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’ 14 You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, and that we have walked as mourners before the Lord of hosts?

          This brings us back to our main text. In the last portion, Matthew 12:37. It says: For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Israel condemned themselves by speaking blasphemy against God. It caused them to wander aimlessly for 40 years in a dry desert on a trip that should have taken less than two weeks.

          Every Jew from that generation died without obtaining the promise from God. Entering the Promised Land was their right. God gave them His infallible, unchangeable Word, yet through their unbelief, they disqualified themselves from entering that promise. God repeatedly confirmed that they were His chosen, favored people, the children that He loved with all of His heart. Children that He prepared a wonderful inheritance for. The Promise Land is where God’s abundant provision, protection, and favor are accessible. The place where God’s children enter into, and receive their full inheritance, but because of their words and actions of unbelief, judgment came instead. They never walked in what they were destined for.

          Israel started out strong, confident, with great expectation, but when hardship arose or it seemed to take too long, they cast away their confidence and spoke against the promise.

          This is a clear picture of the present day church. Christians are faced with the same dilemma today. The Kingdom of God is the Promise Land. It’s where the King’s resources, healing, protection, provision, and power are available. Not believing that He loves us, that He has changed us, and that He is for us, shows up in the way we talk and act, and it keeps us from entering the Promised Land.

          The Promised Land is not a physical place, but a spiritual Kingdom that resides within you. It is the realm of the King that is in your heart. It is the place within your heart and mind that God has absolute rule, complete authority.

          Israel saw God’s manifested presence and provision constantly. and yet they continued to question God and declare that they wanted to return to the place they were delivered from. Egypt was the place where they were in slavery. Countless times they disobeyed and despised God’s leading and provision. They spoke against God and His leaders, never believing that God was going to do what He said. They were faithless, even in the sight of some of the most spectacular signs and miracles ever recorded. They constantly “spoke against” (blasphemy) God and his leaders. Even though they had a promise of a new and wonderful land, they died before ever walking in it because of their blasphemy.

          Israel is a type of the modern Church, and the Promised Land is a type of the Kingdom of God. Christians that get saved and try to “be good” in their own strength will continue to indulge in their old lifestyle, gravitate to old habits and old thought patterns, and eventually desire their old life more than God. By not counting themselves dead to sin and alive to God, engaging Him in relationship, they are blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

         ” Instead of the relationship of sons and daughters, we embrace the religion and legalism of hired servants. This is not God’s plan.”

Galatians 4:6-10  And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of[ God through Christ. But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. 9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?

0000         Just like Israel, some Christians will want to turn back to the slavery of sin. Why is that? Because they haven’t submitted to the righteousness of God. Instead, they try to establish their own righteousness by struggling to do good and be good. Not realizing that they have embarked on an impossible task, they soon become discouraged and downcast because of the complete futility of their endeavor. They look at the bad fruit on their tree and get confused, calling their tree bad, and blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

You are a good tree. Jesus made you that way at the new birth. As long as you keep calling the tree good you are not capable of producing bad fruit. Remember. where there is no law, there is no transgression. (Romans 4:15) However, if you choose to live by the law anyway, you will be judged by the law and you call the tree bad after Jesus has made it good. You blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

Moses blasphemy

          Now consider Moses, the leader of God’s people, God’s chosen man. A man of tremendous faith and power. The Bible says that he didn’t sanctify God in the sight of God’s people. Moses was punished for blasphemy. Striking the rock instead of speaking to it is symbolic of what Christians do today. The Rock is Jesus, the water is a type of Holy Spirit. Striking the rock is a type of Jesus being stricken, smitten of God, wounded for our transgressions. (Isaiah 53:4-5) and Jesus only had to make that sacrifice ONCE!

Hebrews 10:12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 

Hebrews 7:27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.

When Moses struck the rock instead of speaking to it, it was a type of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. The rock was struck years before. This time Moses was commanded to speak to the rock, but struck it again instead. This is a type of wounding Jesus a second time for our sins. It is a type of the Church not believing that Jesus blood was enough to make us holy and acceptable.

Hebrews 6:4-6  For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away,[b] to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

Numbers 20:10 Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?”

          Notice the words “shall we.” Moses is acting as if He and Aaron are the responsible party for the miracles rather than acknowledging God as the cause. They are taking the credit when the credit belongs to God. Shall we bring you water from this rock yet again? This is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. This blasphemy is not forgiven, Moses pays for this sin by not being allowed into the promised land. Moses lost his reward. When we try to take credit for our righteousness, we do the same thing. When we choose to live by the law instead of by the Spirit, we do the same thing.

           It is also why Jesus never takes credit for His miracles, but acknowledges that nothing He does is of Himself. He says the power is not His. Instead He points to the Father as the reason for all that He says and all that He has done. He claims that the Spirit is within him. He says the Father is with Him and He does the works. 

          These are just a few Old Testament types of the unpardonable sin. I hope this teaching sheds light on this topic, as well as the righteousness of God and what is available to us as Christians. I welcome any questions, comments or insights. God bless you.

JC

 

 

The Unpardonable Sin – Thoroughly Explained pt.1

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          WOW! What a misunderstood subject. So many people with legitimate questions and yet the internet is flooded with misguided opinions and wrong interpretations. I’m not writing this to point fingers and correct, but to bring some understanding to a subject that seems to always come up in Christian circles of all denominations. For months the Lord has been dealing with me about this topic, and He has helped me understand some principles that I would like to share with you.

          We find references to the unpardonable sin in Mark 3, Luke 10, and Matthew 12. We will focus on Matthews account for this teaching because it is the most complete, and gives us the proper context to interpret this passage. If you don’t read the entire text you will understand it as being denied entrance to heaven. This is not the case.

What the unpardonable sin is not:

          These passages are referring to the promise of the Kingdom of God, not the Kingdom of Heaven, and yes, for this dispensation, there is a difference.

Defining the Kingdoms

           To understand the unpardonable sin, it helps to understand the difference between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven. In short, the Kingdom of Heaven is the place where God the Father dwells. It is our eternal destination if we are born again. It is a specific place. (not earth)

          The Kingdom of God, on the other hand, is on the earth, and in our heart. (Luke 17:21) It is the place in which, at any given time, Jesus Christ’s rule and reign is acknowledged. Jesus will eventually deliver this Kingdom to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24) and both Kingdoms will then become congruent. For more teaching on the Kingdoms refer to: Defining The Kingdom, The Kingdom of God pt.2, and The Kingdom of God pt.3.

          A common teaching is that a true Christian cannot commit the unpardonable sin, that denying Jesus is the only thing that is unforgivable. This is certainly true, but it’s not what Jesus is talking about. When you look at His audience (Pharisees) and consider the entire context of what Jesus is saying, you will see that ONLY a Christian can commit such a sin. I will clarify this in the following paragraphs.

        First, let’s look at the entire passage in Matthew that puts this whole thing in context. (All scripture will be from the New King James Bible unless noted otherwise.)

A kingdom divided

Matthew 12:25-37 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore, they shall be your judges. 28But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. 30He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.

The Unpardonable Sin

31 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

A Tree Known by Its Fruit

33“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35A good man out of the good treasure of his heart  brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

       11123   Notice that the context of the unpardonable sin is sandwiched between the parable of “a kingdom divided,” and the parable of “the good and bad trees.” Notice in verse 31, immediately following the parable of a house divided, Jesus says “Therefore I say to you…” In other words, Jesus is saying, “because of what I just told you, I also say this about it,” and He proceeds to tell them about the unpardonable sin.

          In verse 33, He follows right in to the parable of the good and bad trees, which is another way of teaching about a house divided. This tells us that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is tied to both these parables, and in fact Jesus is using the text of the unpardonable sin, as well as the parable of the good and bad trees, to explain a house divided. This fact alone should help us from being deceived with most of the doctrines out there about this topic. The unpardonable sin has to do with having our house, and His Kingdom, divided, incongruent, in not in total agreement. It’s teaching us about accepting the fact that we are righteous, about being single minded about who we are because of the blood sacrifice. its about making our tree good so that good fruit will be produced. It’s about lining our words up with who, and what God has paid for us to be. His righteous, holy, and blameless children that He bought and adopted through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

          This passage holds an important revelation concerning our identity in Christ, the righteousness of God, the Kingdom of God and the work of the Holy Spirit in the believers life that is enabled by faith.. If you have a good grasp on your imputed righteousness, this will be much easier to understand. 

          Let’s start by defining some terminology in verses 31, and 32.

          The Greek word for blasphemy is; blasphēmía. It comes from ( blax, “sluggish/slow,” and phḗmē, “reputation, fame”) – blasphemy – literally means, slow to call something good (that really is good) – and slow to identify what is truly bad (that really is evil). Blasphemy also means “to speak against.” It is primarily a sin of the mouth but can be expressed in actions as well.

          Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit takes the faith principle of calling things that are not as though they were, (Romans 4:17) and twists it. Instead of speaking faith and eternal truth over something that is in opposition to truth, instead of speaking life to something that is dead, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit despises (lightly esteems) the Holy Spirit’s work and continues to speak unbelief instead of speaking words of faith. It calls things at were as though they still are, instead of calling things that are not yet manifest as though they already were.

Romans 4:17 as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;

          If the words and actions of a “believer” do not line up with Gods word, that means they don’t believe, regardless of what they think. To call yourself a believer and deny the truth that you have been made the righteousness of God is being a house divided, its calling the good tree bad. This is the blasphemy that Jesus is talking about. Jesus has made your tree good. For you to call your tree bad, even in the face of a recent gross sin, is blasphemy and causes  you to have a house divided. 

          The Pharisees that Jesus was talking to were NOT believers. The instruction He was giving them was not about them, but about Himself. They were not capable of committing the unpardonable sin. This is why He said in verses 34 “How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”  Jesus was telling them that they weren’t even capable of speaking faith because of what was in them.

          It is when we speak against the Holy Spirit in us that blasphemy occurs. The most common occurrence of this sin happens when we speak directly against God’s accomplished work and fail to recognize the righteousness that was imputed to us. We deny Christ’s redemptive work through the way we talk about ourselves. In essence, we despise salvation and say in our the heart that “What Christ did was not enough.” We do this by continuing to live by the law of sin and death, after Jesus has delivered us from it. This is offensive behavior to God, and there is nothing more He can do to deliver us from this deception. There is no other sacrifice that He can make to convince you to get on board with Him in faith so the transforming power of His grace can actually produce good fruit in your life.

          If we could just bring ourselves to agree with the truth that He has made us worthy, righteous, and holy through His blood sacrifice, the Holy Spirit would be released to transform us into the reality of that truth. Our good trees would begin to bear the good fruit. If we don’t set ourselves in agreement with His completed work by what we say and how we act, we treat the blood of Jesus as common, insulting the Spirit of grace, and blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 10:26-29 26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

          The sin of blasphemy can be expressed in several ways. The most common way is to remain conscious of sin, allowing guilt, condemnation, and shame to rule our lives, rule our speech, and hinder us in our relationship with God. It is blatant unbelief  in Christ’s accomplished work. I think this unbelief comes mainly from ignorance, not from a wrong heart. This part of the Gospel does not seem to get the attention that it should. Yet, when you read the New Testament, you will see that almost every epistle focuses in part, on this topic. The books of Romans, Galatians, Hebrews, and 1st and 2nd Corinthians are devoted almost entirely to addressing this.

“When we try to justify ourselves by our works (performance) after we have been born again, we blaspheme the Holy Spirit. We say, by our actions, that Jesus was not enough to make me righteous, and the Holy Spirit is not at work to change me.”

          Most Christians don’t understand the work of redemption, which changes who they are. God intends for us to start our new life where Jesus finished His. We must start where He finished and be raised up together with Him as a new creation. Dead to sin, and alive to God.

          We have reduced the gospel to a prayer that some day gets us to heaven, and completely ignored the truth that we can NOW have a transformed life through relationship with the Father, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the grace of God. This is the hope of the gospel.

Colossians 1:21-23 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

          The issue is, most Christians have not heard, or do not understand this hope of the gospel. The hope that we were made righteous and holy in the sight of God so we could be restored in relationship to Him. The hope that sin has been dealt with and no longer is a barrier to that relationship. Not understanding what Christ did, and who we are in God’s sight prevents us from embracing the truth, and power of the gospel.. We are NOW “holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed we continue in the faith”

          In the next two passages, we see this “hope of the gospel” mentioned again.

Hebrews 3:6  but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.

Hebrews 10:19-23  Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

          11222So how does this tie to a house, or kingdom being divided? First we need to understand that we are NOW Christ’s house, the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can only live in a holy temple.

1Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

          We let sin separate us from our Father, AFTER He has paid the FULL price for it, and removed the effects of it from our lives, we are saying in our hearts that what He did was not enough. In our heart, we speak against the Holy Spirit, our house is divided. We attempt to stand with one foot in the Kingdom of God, and one foot still in darkness. We try to serve the master, Jesus, and the master of the sin, the law of sin and death. You can’t serve both. Jesus knew this, so he fulfilled the law and did away with it, and where no law is, there is no transgression (sin).

Romans 4:14-15 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, 15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.

Romans 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

          Theses two passages make it clear that sin is still present, yet we are not judged for it because there is no law to transgress. There is only the law of love, which is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. This is te law that makes us free. The law that makes our house undivided, and our tree good. This law sets us in agreement with God’s transforming power of grace through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

           When we live with guilt, condemnation, and shame, it means we have a sin consciousness. It means we are living by the Old Testament law of Sin and Death and not by the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. This is having a house divided and being guilty of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Sin consciousness establishes your identity as unforgiven, guilty, and worthy of judgment. It believes you still have the need for redemption. It sends a message that Jesus sacrifice was not enough to by you back from the fall of man. It denies the holiness of the temple (you) where the Holy Spirit dwells. It says that Jesus was not enough to make you holy. Blasphemy!

This will continue in part 2 of this teaching, soon to follow.

JC

 

 

Loving God, What Does That Look Like?

lov3        

When was the last time you came to God  just love on Him and be close to Him?

          I have three sons of varying ages who are completely different from one another in their personalities, likes, and interests. Each one is unique and I thank God that, He made them that way. I love each one equally and show no partiality to any one of them. They all know that I love them and I know that they love me. This is an understood fact and we all express that love to each other all the time. We live with an awareness of that love and we are conscious of the fact that the love we have will never change. There comes a time though, as they walk through their day-to-day life that the knowledge of that love is not enough.  They need to experience it.

          They need one on one, face-to-face interaction. They need a loving touch, they need to share thoughts and emotions and spend intimate personal time with me. They need to know that they are special to me and that my love is for them is real. There is a wonderful exchange that takes place in these times. I become sensitive to their needs and desires and reaffirm my love for them. It solidifies our bond and their faith in me as a loving father. It enriches and strengthens the relationship that we have.

          Each of my children likes to experience this love in different ways. As they age and their interest changes, our time together begins to look different also. My 13-year-old likes to go to the gun range and I teach him about shooting techniques, safety and responsibility, preparing him for manhood and the challenges that are ahead of him.

          My 10-year-old likes swimming, nature  and art. We enjoy each others company and I see the joy in his face when we are alone together. I encourage him to develop his gifts and artistic talents. My youngest, the 6-year-old, likes to crawl up in my lap and play silly little games. These games may seem insignificant to some, yet to this child it is one of the most important parts of his day and if we miss that time together he tells me about it. This time together is very important to him … It is also very important to me.

 lov2         As believers we need this intimate time with our Father, God. It is not enough to walk through life just knowing about the Love of God, we must experience it. The most important relationship that we have is with our creator. If we invest in this relationship, it pays dividends in all other relationships, making them richer and stronger.

          These times I described with my kids are all very important to me. Your personal time with God is very important to Him too. Is it important to you? As you grow as a Christian these intimate times with God will change and evolve to match your level of maturity and the life lessons that God knows are important to you at the time. No matter where you are in your walk with God, always approach Him as a child. Don’t take for granted that the most amazing thing available to you through Jesus sacrifice is your ability to stand before God like a child with no guilt, condemnation, or shame. Jesus made fellowship and intimacy available through His shed blood. His sacrifice was made so Father – Son relationship could be restored.

Luke 18:17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.

         lov5 I think we tend to get in rut with our “devotional” time and make it mechanical and impersonal. We come to God with a list of prayer needs and a plan to study, or read a certain amount of scripture and we never connect with Him personally. We go through the motions with a legalistic, works mentality, believing that its the right thing to do in order to be a “good Christian.” The truth is, very little fruit comes from actions like these. This is not relationship, and it does not promote growth and change, instead it perpetuates a legalistic mentality which quenches the grace of God and hinders the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

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