Tag Archives: Christianity

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

 

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.

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

 

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 now..

          We find references to the unpardonable sin in Mark 3, Luke 10, and Matthew 12. We will be focusing on Matthews account for this short 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. 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.”

       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 your house, and His Kingdom, undivided, congruent, 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.

          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?

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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.

 

 

~ Is your Mountain hearing your Voice? ~

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One of the most important aspects of faith is speaking what we believe. Jesus demonstrated this principle throughout His earthly ministry, giving us an example to follow, as well as a blueprint of how true faith actually works. Even with all of His examples, the church still struggles with this particular part of the gospel message.

Let’s look at some of Jesus examples and make sure we understand how faith works.

Mark 11:12-14 ~ And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: 13And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. 14And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.

          In today’s society people who talk to trees run the risk of being put in a straight jacket and labeled a lunatic. In fact, there were many that thought Jesus was a lunatic so this shouldn’t surprise anyone.

          The Bible records Jesus speaking to many things throughout the New Testament. In every case, the things He spoke to obeyed Him. His words always had an effect on what e was speaking to. What most people don’t realize is that He did this as a man, not as God. Jesus walked this earth and ministered as a man anointed and filled with the Holy Spirit, just like you and I are supposed to be.

          Jesus was born of the incorruptible seed of God. That seed was placed in His virgin mother and He was born a man, completely void of any heavenly powers or privileges.

Philippians 2:6-8 ~ (NIV) ~ Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! 

          What we must grasp is that the same incorruptible seed that was in Christ is now in us if Jesus is our Lord.

1 Peter 1:23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever

          This understanding is essential if we are to function in Kingdom authority and power. When Jesus spoke to things and exercised His Kingdom authority He was not doing it to show off, He was setting an example for His Church to follow. He was demonstrating what could be done as a man so that we would know how to function as a new creation in this fallen and corrupt world.

Knowing who you are IN Christ is one of the most important revelations in your Christian walk. If you don’t know who you are, you won’t believe you have the authority that goes with that identity.

Lets look at another instance of Jesus exercising His authority.11speak2

Mark 4:38-40 ~ But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”

          Now this one really freaked the disciples out! They were fighting for their life while Jesus slept. I wonder how long this went on. I can see the disciples bailing water, tieing down everything that was loose, fighting with the rudder and the rope rigging. All the while, stealing glances at Jesus every few minutes thinking “when is He gonna get up and DO something?” Keep in mind that some of these guys were professional sailors and fishermen, they had been in bad storms before, so this must have been a real doosey!

               
As bad as it must have been,
the truth is, they didn’t need to wake Jesus up. They should have been able to take care of it themselves. In fact Jesus rebuked them for being afraid and having no faith.

Mark 4:40 ~ And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

      11speak3    Jesus rebuked them for having no faith, then He showed them what faith looks like by speaking to the current circumstances. His faith was in His heart, and it was released with speaking words. If Jesus expected them to exercise that kind of faith and authority before He went to the cross, how much more does He expect it from us as born again believers? The real question is, why don’t we expect to operate like that? Although the disciples had the power to do just what Jesus did, they were waiting on Jesus to do something. This seems to be the condition of the church today, Waiting for God to do something He has given us the authority and power to do.

          Many prayers seemingly go unanswered because God has already done everything that He is going to do about the situation. He has given us the authority and power to do something about it ourself so we need to stop waiting on Jesus to wake up and calm our storm. We need to begin exercising our faith and speaking to our circumstances, our problems, our mountains!

Many times we make the mistake of praying for a mountain to be removed when we should be speaking to the mountain. The truth is, mountains don’t get removed by prayer. The understood method of mountain removal in the Bible is speaking.

Mark 11:22-23  So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.

There is a time to pray, and there is a time to say. Simply knowing which to do in any given situation will produce greater fruit in our life.

          What else did Jesus talk to? We have the account of Peter’s mother in law being healed of a fever. Notice what Jesus does.

Luke 4:38-40 ~ And He arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. 39And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them. 40Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.

          Notice that Jesus did not pray for Peter’s mother in law, He spoke directly to the fever, rebuked it, and she was healed! He exercised His kingdom authority over the fever and the fever had no choice but to obey. Many times Christians are praying when they should have been SAYING.

 When you come up against mountains of sickness, bad reports, financial difficulty, trying situations, make sure that mountain is hearing your voice!

          Here is an interesting account of Jesus speaking to a dead person.

John 11:42-44 ~ And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”

          This is an amazing account of Jesus demonstrating His kingdom authority by the power of His spoken word. There have been many confirmed, recorded accounts of people being raised from the dead in Jesus name. 14 accounts in the life of  Smith Wigglesworth alone. This is available to us today!

          So we see that He spoke to trees, to the elements, to sickness, and even to dead people. So ask your self this;

“Can a tree, a fever, a storm, or even a dead person hear?” Obviously they can because they obeyed His voice!

          These were just some of the mountains that Jesus had to move in His earthly ministry. What mountains are you facing in your life? If you don’t have faith enough to move your mouth, you will never have faith enough to move your mountains.

Your Mountain Should Be Hearing Your Voice!

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Mark 11:23 ~ For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.

          The signs and wonders that followed Jesus should be following us if we truly believe. Notice the last words He spoke before He ascended into heaven.

Mark 16:17-18 ~ And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

          The truth is, we should be seeing greater works than what Jesus did. That is what He told us in His Word.

John 14:12 ~  “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”

The greatest thing available to us is not the power to cast mountains into the sea, or heal the sick, or even raise the dead. But to have relationship with the Father. To be close Him, not having sin as wall that separates us from His presence. To express our love and devotion to Him with an unveiled face, with no guilt, condemnation or shame.

          Why am I bringing this up? Because faith like this will come easy if you are madly in love with God.

1 Corinthians 13:2-3 ~ And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

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

JC

 

Are you bound by Legalism, and a Sin Consciousness?

legalism3        

  Legalism is a system of thought where rules, expectations and regulations promise God’s love in return for human effort and obedience. Legalism is an attempt by man to justify God’s Love. Under the cloak of Christianity, legalism offers salvation and God’s Love as a reward for performance. Legalism is a spiritually toxic virus, spread by religion, best treated by God’s unconditional and amazing grace.

If your heart is full of bitterness towards others and self-condemnation, could it
 be that you have been going about living the Christian life all wrong?  God desperately wants to set His people free from legalism. God loves legalists. He hates legalism.

   Could you be a legalist and not even know it? Why do Christians fall prey to performance-based religion? Are you convinced that God is mad at you and the only way you can make him happy is by being a better person? Are you convinced that your obedience and performance has some bearing on your salvation? Are you tired of trying harder because it seems that trying harder is never good enough?

legalism

I purposely didn’t include any teaching on GRACE in this blog. That is covered in other teachings on this site. I think it important to first face the fact that WE ALL may be guilty of legalism to one degree or another.

So, If you are brave, and prepared to be honest with yourself, take the Legalist test and see how you do.

You might be a Legalist if:

1) God’s love for you depends on what you do, instead of who you are.

2) Meeting the expectations of others, especially those in your congregation or in positions of authority, are paramount.

3) You believe that if you don’t tithe, your other 90% will be cursed.

4) You try hard to obey God and it irritates you that others think they can get away with avoiding the same level of dedication and commitment that you have.

5) You fall short because you don’t have enough faith, or because you haven’t prayed enough, or because you just need to be a better person.

6) God is predisposed to be angry with you because you are a sinner and He knows that YOU know you can do better.

7) Your sense of spiritual well-being is tied to a Christian leader and their opinion, or membership in your church rather than a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

8) You tell your children not to do something in church or around other Christian families that you allow in your home.

9) You believe that what people wear, hairstyles, piercings or tattoos, is a clear indication of that person’s spirituality and character.

10) After being around Christians for a while you feel drained because you are weary of putting up a false front.

11) When you happen to miss a service or activity of your church, even if it is a valid excuse, you feel guilty.

12) If your ability to receive a blessing from God, such as healing, depends on how you have been performing.

13) If you see Christ as more of a judge than a Savior.

14) If you believe God’s love for you depends on how much love you have shown Him.

15) If you know God’s law but not God Himself.

16) If you think you MUST take a Sabbath once a week.

          So, how did you do? Did you find some of these comments describing you? Legalism has been a danger to the church from the very start. it is addressed in the New Testament repeatedly and the book of Galatians is written, almost entirely, to address this point.

          We are all susceptible to legalism and we must ever guard ourselves from falling into this trap of wrong thinking.

          God’s love is unconditional. Christ has redeemed us from every curse of the law. We are to live a life of the Spirit. laying down our lives daily and taking up God’s agenda, being an instrument of righteousness and an expression of His image….Just like Jesus. This is the path to freedom from legalistic thinking.

Freedom from legalism will only come from relationship with your Father. The greatest thing Jesus did was restore our ability to come before God without guilt or shame. He changed our identity from sinners, to sons and daughters.

          Some believers think that having a sin consciousness will help them avoid sin. If they think about their wrong doing, feel the shame of it, carry the guilt of it, then it will deter them from repeating those things. That is purely Legalistic, Old Covenant thinking. That didn’t even work in the Old Covenant. At best sin consciousness only leads to more sinning!

         What you focus on you move towards. What you are conscious of, and what you think about, is the reality you create. No wonder we struggle so much with sin. Our mind is constantly focused on it.

         Why don’t we try focusing on righteousness? On Christ’s perfect gift of righteousness that He has imputed to us. When we focus on righteousness, grace comes on the scene and moves us towards right living.

         Legalism and a sin consciousness is a result of having a law based, legalistic mind. Romans 3 says that by the law is the knowledge of sin. When our mind is law based we will live sin conscious. The focus will be on our flesh, our ability, and our self. Being “self-focused” is in direct opposition to the love of God.

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         We can’t overcome sin this way? Grace is the answer! Grace is divine influence. As we focus on Christ we open the door for God to influence us. We place our heart on the great potter’s wheel and He gives it a spin, molding us and shaping us into His image. This is faith. This is how we walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. This is how we make a draw on His ability Instead of struggling to overcome sin in our own strength.

         If we focus on relationship with Him, practice spending time with Him. Focus on how we can fill your hearts and minds with the word of God. That He has forgiven all our sins, past present and future. That He has made us perfectly righteous with His own righteousness and no sin can make us unrighteous. That He has brought you completely out of a law based relationship with Him and into a grace based relationship with Him. That His love and acceptance of us is not based on our performance but on Christ perfect performance on our behalf. That we have a new nature, God’s very own nature. That we are sons, not sinners. Our consciousness of Him, and His righteousness in us, will grow to a place that crushes our consciousness of sin and delivers us from legalistic thinking.

Our focus should always be on relationship, not works. If we can learn to make that one adjustment, we will flourish in the Kingdom of God.

 

~ How to Confess God’s Word ~

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           Confession of God’s word can be a tremendous help in establishing you in truth, building your faith, and moving you forward in your spiritual growth. God’s written word contains the building blocks of  faith. Speaking His word is the mortar that holds it all together, solidifying our identity in Him, raising us up into a holy and righteous temple, a fit dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. Speaking God’s word should be a priority in every Christians life, unfortunately for most, it is not.

          Confession should not be a mindless reciting of scripture, but an intimate part of your relationship with God. When confession is approached properly it will enhance your relationship with your Father and enrich your prayer life beyond measure. Confession should be lifted up to God as an offering, a statement of faith that lets God know that you agree with what He says about you, no matter the situation or circumstance. Confession aligns you with God’s thoughts, sets your heart in agreement with His plans, and affirms your identity as His child.

Isaiah 55:11 says this: “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

          Confession is prayerfully returning God’s word to Him, acknowledging your agreement with His will, and inviting Him to bring His word to pass in your life. It activates angels that hearken to the spoken word and puts them to work, bringing God’s to pass in your life. (Psalm 103:20) If you could only see what happens in the spirit realm when you speak God’s word in faith, you would never go another day without doing it.

           The following are some examples of how I prayerfully confess God’s word. They are scriptures that speak to my heart. passages that the Holy Spirit has illuminated to me as being important in my life. I recommend reading the scriptures in your favorite translation and notice how the confession has been personalized for a conversation with God in relationship. Be mindful of scriptures that jump out to you, that have an unction on them, and personalize your own confessions.

Be blessed.

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Joshua 1:8 ~ Father, Your Word will not depart from my mouth, but I will meditate on it day and night, that I may observe to do according to all that is written in it. Then I will make my way prosperous and I will have good success.    

Job 22:28 ~ When I declare and decree Your word, it is established to me and light shines on my ways making my path clear.

Mark 16:17 ~ I am your disciple Lord Jesus, in Your name I cast out devils, I speak with new tongues. If I touch or consume any deadly thing it will in no way hurt me. I lay hands on the sick and they recover.

John 16:13 ~ The Spirit of truth abides in me. He guides me into all truth and shows me things to come. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit Lord.

Isaiah 54:17 ~ No weapon formed against me will prosper, and every tongue that rises against me in judgment, even mine, I shall condemn. This is my heritage as your servant Lord and my righteousness is from You.

Colossians 1:9 ~ Because of your Holy Spirit, I have perfect knowledge of what to do in every situation and I am filled with all wisdom, spiritual understanding and the knowledge of Your will for me. I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. You love me so much, that You thought I was valuable enough to die for me. Thank you Father.

Acts 19:6 & Acts 1:8~ The Holy Spirit has come on me. I speak with tongues and prophesy. I have received power because the Holy Spirit has come upon me and I am a witness for Jesus to the end of the earth.

Philippians 4:6-7 ~ I do not worry and I am not anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving I make my requests known to You God, and Your peace, that passes all understanding, keeps my heart and mind through Christ Jesus.

Mark 11:23 ~ Father, because You have made me a creative being, like Yourself, I speak to things, situations, sickness, disease, and demons, and they obey all me. I believe in my heart that those things I say will be done so I have what I say. My words have power and I use that power to change situations, help people, to destroy the works of the enemy and give glory to You Lord God.

Psalm 103:2-5 ~ Lord You have forgiven all my iniquities; You have healed all my diseases; You have redeemed my life from destruction; You have satisfied my mouth with good things so that my youth is renewed like the eagles.

Philippians 4:19 ~ There is no lack in my life Father, for You supply all my needs according to Your riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:28 ~ I love You Father and I am called according to Your purpose. All things work together for my good because You love me so much.

Philippians 4:8,9 ~ Father, You have given me the mind of Christ, so I think on the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report. If there is any virtue or praise, I think on these things. I am a doer of Your word Lord, and Your peace is with me.

1 Peter 2:24 ~ Jesus I thank you for bearing my sins. I am dead to sin and I live unto righteousness and by Your stripes I am healed.

Romans 8:11 ~ The same Spirit that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in me. And He that raised up Christ from the dead also quickens my mortal body because the Holy Spirit is living in me. Thank you father for the Holy Spirit. Where would I be if You didn’t father me?

Isaiah 54:14 ~ I thank you Lord, because of Your shed blood I am established in righteousness. I am far from oppression, I do not fear, and terror shall not come near me.

Colossians 3:1-2 ~ Because I have been resurrected with Christ, I seek You Father with all my heart. I set my mind and my affections on You, not on the things of this earth. You are everything to me Lord.

Proverbs 3:5-6 ~ I trust in You Lord with all of my heart and I do not lean on my own understanding. In all my ways I acknowledge You, and I trust You to direct my path.

Mark 12:30-31 ~ I love You Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and I love my neighbor as myself.

Galatians 5:16-18 ~ I walk in the Spirit and I do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. I am led by the Holy Spirit and I am not under the law.

1Corinthians 13:4-8 ~ Father, because You have placed Your great love in my heart, I am patient and kind. I do not envy or boast and I am not proud. I do not dishonor others, I am not self-seeking, I am not easily angered and I keep no record of a suffered wrong. I do not delight in evil but I rejoice in the truth. I believe the best of every person. I always protect, trust, hope and persevere. I never fail.

1 Peter 1:13-21 ~ I gird up the loins of my mind with Your word Father God. I am sober minded and my hope rests fully upon the grace that is mine in Christ. I am Your obedient child, and I am not conformed to former lusts. I am holy in my conduct as You are holy. I walk in reverence toward You Lord. You are amazing.

Proverbs 3:9,10 ~  I honor You LORD with my possessions and the first fruits of all my increase. I overflow with material and spiritual blessings.

Romans 5:17 ~ I, having received abundance of grace and the gift of Your righteousness do reign as a king in this life by Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 54:13 ~ All my children are taught of the Lord, and great is their peace.

Psalm 23:4 ~ I fear no evil for you are with me Lord, your Word, and Spirit they comfort me.

Proverbs 21:23 ~ I guard my mouth and my tongue and I keep my soul from trouble. I let nothing come forth from my heart, no word or action that would defile me.

Psalm 112:1-7 ~ I am blessed because I fear You Lord and I delight greatly in Your Word. My descendants are mighty on the earth and they are blessed. Wealth and riches are in my house and my righteousness endures forever. I am gracious and full of compassion. I guide my affairs with discretion. I will never be shaken. I am not afraid of evil. My heart is steadfast, trusting in You Lord.

Romans 12:1-3 ~ I present my body as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto You Father, for Your habitation. This is my worship to You. I am not conformed to this world, but I am transformed by the renewing of my mind to Your word. I do not think of myself more highly than I should think, but I think soberly according to the measure of faith You have dealt me.

JC

 

~ Free from a Sin Consciousness ~

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          Why are good, well-meaning Christians still bound by old habits, and old thought patterns, unhappy, depressed, fearful, and full of unbelief? That shouldn’t be!Why are the promises of God seemingly illusive and hard to obtain?

          Why are we so acutely aware of our faults and shortcomings? What is it that makes us focus on the fallen nature and distracts us from focusing on our new, redeemed nature?

          This is not a prayer problem, its a truth problem. We suffer from a lack of understanding of who we are, and what we have become because of the blood of Christ. We are a sin conscious people, lacking a revelation of the magnificent gift that has been given to us by our Heavenly Father.

          Our ignorance comes, primarily from a weak relationship with our God. Most Christians are satisfied to come to church once or twice a week and leave the praying and the heavy spiritual lifting to the pastors and other ministers. After all, that IS their job, their calling, right? WRONG!

sin11          There is NOTHING that can replace your own personal relationship with the Lord. Something amazing takes place when YOU, all by yourself, when no one else is looking, worship God and spend time with Him. This is your primary expression of faith. 

James 4:8a Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…

          The greatest of all the benefits of salvation is our ability to have intimate relationship with the Lord. The thing that was standing in the way of our relationship (SIN), has been removed, abolished, taken away. Jesus Christ became our sin so the He could give us His righteousness, that we could stand before God without any sense of guilt, condemnation, or shame.

Guilt – Is a belief that you are not forgiven.

Condemnation – Is belief that your life is worthy of judgment.

Shame – is a belief that it is still who I am.

          The Old Testament Law is a belief system, and that belief system is based on the premise that “what I do determines my level of righteousness.” This thought process comes natural to the fallen man.

          God sent His Son to free us from the old belief system; the Law of Sin and Death. He abolished sin in His body (Eph 2:15) to fulfill the Old Testament law, so He could establish the new belief system, The New Testament. God made us righteous so that we would be free from that old way of believing, but the only way to be free from it, is to die to it and embrace the new belief system of the New Testament. It is the new law, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus that embraces the identity that we ARE the righteousness of God, holy and blameless in His sight.

Colossians 1:21-22 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—  23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard,…

       Some great revelations in this passage of scripture:

          According to verse 21, we should no longer be enemies in our mind because ofsin12 sin (wicked works) because we have been reconciled. Even if we stumble and fall into sin, it doesn’t change the way He sees us, which is holy and blameless in His sight. What happens is, if we sin, we tend to revert back to the old belief system and we become “enemies in our mind” because of the sin, and become a landing strip for guilt, condemnation and shame which alienates us from God. We revert back to the law of sin and death and abandon our true identity which is based solely on what God says about us according to the gospel.

          What does the gospel say? I’m glad you asked!

Romans 3:24  You are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1 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. 

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. 

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 

Galatians 4:7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Ephesians 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

sin14          These are only a few scriptures that describe how God sees us. God always sees our potential, He sees the end from the beginning, He doesn’t look upon our weakness, He sees us for who we are created to be, He believes the best of us even when we are at our worst.

          He makes us right positionally FIRST, so that we have the ability to become right in our behavior. If we first believe what He says about us is true, it empowers us to become what we believe. We must first believe that we ARE righteous, then works of righteousness and the fruit of holiness follow, delivering us from the sting of sin, the pull of sin, and even the acts of sin.

Romans 6:20-22  For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.

          This is what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 12 when He said, first “make the tree good and the fruit will be good.”

Matthew 12:33  “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 

          Sin consciousness makes the tree bad, and therefore it continues to produce bad fruit, sin3bad thought patterns, cycles of repeating sin, and constant struggling with the old belief system of sin and death.

          Righteous consciousness makes the tree good, enabling the transforming power of God’s grace, bearing righteous fruit, producing holiness without us struggling to be holy. This way God gets all the glory and we can’t boast about being a “Super Christian.”

Defining a Sin Consciousness

          To be conscious of something is to be very aware of it. Many believers think that the awareness of sin, (having a sin consciousness) will help avoid sin. If we think about our wrong doing, feel the shame of it, carry the guilt of it then it will deter us from repeating those things. What New Covenant scriptures is that based on? That is the old belief system, Old Testament thinking. The problem is, that didn’t even work in the Old Testament. At best sin consciousness will only lead to more sinning!

          Sin consciousness is a result of having a legalistic mind. It’s the Old Testament belief system. Romans 3 says that by the law is the knowledge of sin. When our mind is law based we will live with a constant awareness of sin. The focus will be on our flesh, and our abilities. How on earth are we going to overcome sin this way? We can’t keep doing the same thing year after year having the same failed results and stay convinced that it’s the answer! No, grace is the answer! Grace will lead us to focus on Christ.

          Grace is all about His ability! Grace takes the focus off ourself and puts it on Christ. This is how we live by faith and not by sight. This is how we walk in the Spirit. This is how we step into His ability. Instead of trying to overcome sin, rather focus on how we can fill our hearts and minds with the word of God and the grace of God that declares He has forgiven all our sins, past present and future, that He has made us perfectly righteous with His own righteousness and no sin can make us unrighteous.

         What we focus on we move towards. What we think about all day is the atmosphere we create around ourself. Do we really want a sin atmosphere around us all day? And we wonder why we struggle so much with sin. It’s because our mind is constantly focused on it.

          If we meditate on the grace of God and fill our heart with Christ consciousness and righteous consciousness, even if we do sin, keep the focus on Christ, and we will see the desire and pull of sin diminishing in our life with very little effort, and the life of God expanding in our life! When we think right and believe right, living right will follow.

I will leave you with these thoughts:

Doing is the second step, and Being is the first.

What we do is determined by what we are.

Acknowledge what we are, and the corresponding actions will follow.

Make the tree good, and it will eventually bear good fruit.

Believing we are righteous and holy causes righteous and holy fruit to grow in our life.

The fruit will be true to the tree, so make the tree good and the let tree do its thing.

          JC

 

The Spirit of Faith

ggwer          There is no other topic on faith that is more controversial in religious circles than the one we are about to cover, yet this is the one principle you must understand to operate in faith. The Spirit of faith is the life of faith and is the essential element required to get results. It is God’s method and it never changes. This is a spiritual LAW, based on a principle that God has laid out for us in His Word. Before we get into it, lets establish God’s general method of operation, how He chooses to do things:

1 Corinthians 1:26-28 ~ For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the
things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,

          Do you see the pattern here? God’s chosen way of doing things is completely opposite of what we think is natural. That being said, we can see why this principle is so misunderstood. You must force yourself to think this way and trust that God knows what He is talking about.

          Keep in mind what it is saying in the above scripture. God has chosen the foolish, weak, base, and despised things to put to shame the “wise and mighty”…..and here we are …The Chosen! That thought alone should produce a little humility.

          True power comes from doing things  God’s way and that way will seem foolish to you and those around you. It even seems foolish to most Christians because they are woefully ignorant of the gospel. Here is the principle:

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;

          God chose this method of using things that are not manifest (things that you cannot see, smell, touch, etc.) to bring to nothing the things that are manifest. This is what we see in the New Testament healings by Jesus. To almost every miracle of healing He added a comment such as, “Thy faith hath saved thee”; “According to your faith be it done unto you”; “Thy faith hath made thee whole”; “ If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes”.

          God has chosen the unseen force of faith (the thing that is NOT manifest) to bring to nothing the things are manifest. (sickness and disease, poverty, oppression, etc.)

      faith-fear-teen    One great enemy of our faith is fear of the visible and tangible. The church has become a slave to what they see. We make a huge deal out of deeds and very little of words.  To understand this principle of “Calling things that are not as though they were”, we must understand the power of words. The first chapter of John holds a tremendous key.

John 1:1-3 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

          Understand that God has not changed. He now dwells inside regenerate man and still works by this one unchangeable process: According to verse 3, ALL THINGS ARE STILL MADE WITH THE WORD, AND NOTHING IS MADE WITHOUT THE WORD.

          One responsibility lies with man, and it is so pivotal that the entire outcome is dependant on this one activity … Man must carry out the process of faith.

          This is no magic formula, no magicians trick. This is not trying to “get God to do something”. This is simply man co-operating with God and yielding to this creative/re-creative process. The process involves believing, speaking, and holding fast to what you say until your faith becomes substance and is tangible.

Hebrews 11:1-3Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.  By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

“A heart of faith, expressed by the word of faith, results in the substance of faith, if we hold fast our confidence.”

          God uses Abraham (the father of our faith) as the example for this process of faith. God changed his name from ABRAM to ABRAHAM. Abraham literally means “father of a multitude”. Was he a father of a multitude when his name was changed? No, not immediately, but when he changed his name to Abraham, every time he heard that name, the spirit of faith was released and now the Spirit of God had a legal right to bring it to pass in the natural realm. This is the Spirit of Faith in action.

The book of James gives us some insight on why faith works this way:

James 2:26  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

In this passage, James is likening faith to the body, and works of faith to the spirit. The spirit must be present for the body to have life, and works of faith must be present for faith to be alive. In other words; Works of faith are the spirit of faith. Works of faith are what brings life to your faith and keeps it alive. Works simply mean, “corresponding action that affirms your belief.” So what is the spirit of faith? I’m glad you asked.

2 Corinthians 4:13 – And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, 

4r5       There are other ways to apply works to your faith, but the primary way is to speak what you believe. Often enough, this is the only works required for you to get results. I know it seems foolish, but we have already seen that God uses foolish things like this to accomplish His will on the earth.

Lets look at an example in Jesus life and ministry;

Mark 11:12-14 ~ 12And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: 13And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. 14And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.

Mark 11:20-22 ~ 20And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. 22And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.

          Even Jesus, when He spoke to the fig tree, did not see results that very minute. They did not see the results of His  “cursing the fig tree” until the next morning. Many people get discouraged when they confess God’s word and don’t see results right away. They speak to their disease or problem, they declare what God’s word says about their situation and if it doesn’t manifest when they think it should, they give up and cast away their confidence. They don’t hold fast to their confession, so they get no results. Faith requires follow through.

Hebrews 10:23 ~ Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

          The word “profession” is the same word used for confession. We must trust God that what He said is true, and we must trust the process of faith that He has ordained, calling those things that are not manifest as though they were. If truly love God, and trust Him, we will commit to the process that He has put in place and our victory is assured.

1 John 5:4 ~ … and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

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