Tag Archives: Thoughts

What is Grace?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Gifts vs. Graces

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JC

 

Old Testament Law – Made to be Broken

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Law vs. Grace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JC

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.

 

 

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.

confess

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.

The Significance of SAYING

          Are you a good communicator? Careful, tactful and wise with your words? Or are you one of the many people that need to carry around a roll of Duct Tape to keep you from sinning with your mouth and saying things you regret? 

          Oh, I am not pointing fingers at anyone, I have been known to need some of that miracle-working, silver    sticky stuff myself.

          If you truly are a servant of Christ, you immediately feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit when you say something that hurts people or tears them down. If you go for long periods of time and don’t experience those little pricks of conviction and correction in your heart, I would suggest to you that you are not even trying.

          We all have room to grow in this department; I don’t care how mature we are. One of the most important things we can learned is to trust our heart. Our heart (spirit man) has a direct line to God’s heart and mind, and the source of all wisdom and knowledge. If we take a moment to check up on the inside before we speak, we would see an immediate change in the quality of our communication, as well as the quality of our relationships. This is a principle that Proverbs makes very clear.

Proverbs 15:28 ~ The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.

In others words, give your heart a little time to tell your mouth what to say. 🙂


          Our words carry enormous weight, and can carry severe consequences. More than we sometimes think. They have the ability to impact people for a very long time, shaping and molding who they are and influencing the direction and path that they take. The bible says that faith comes by hearing, (Romans 10:17) So we should ask ourselves; “what are my words making people believe about themselves, and how are my words shaping my own beliefs?

          Words can build courage and strength or they can discourage and weaken. They can minister grace and life, or pain and death. They can build and edify, or they can tear down and destroy. They not only communicate, they also create. 

Luke 6:45 – A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

          What treasure have you been storing away in your heart? Did you even know that you had a store? Whether you know it or not, your heart is being filled with something. The things that you give attention to, look at, and hear fills your heart, and whatever you are full of comes out when you speak. A minister once told me, ” When you get squeezed with problems, what’s inside you WILL come out.” It is so true. So, when a Christian gets squeezed Christ should come out.

          God’s Word is the obvious choice if we are to store treasure in our heart. His Words are spirit and life, they are health and medicine, they are full of grace and they are truth. When you are full of God’s Word your communications carry a part of HIM with it. Your speech becomes a tool that God can use to build you up and impart grace to others.

Ephesians 4:29 ~ Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

The best definition of grace is:

“The divine influence on the heart, and its reflection in the life.”

          There are few things more rewarding than to know that you have been used by God to influence another person for HIM. To impart His grace and leave that person better off than before you spoke to them. Man! It just doesn’t get any better!

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“Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). Every day, we are shaping reality for ourselves, and others who hear our words. The choice is ours. How will our words impact others? How will your words impact YOU and your family? Are you determined to make progress in this area? Do you see the need?

I have a little saying that I try to live by. As my wife will attest, I don’t always do it, but I’m still growing, PRAISE GOD! The saying is this:

“Before you speak, make sure it is an improvement on silence.”

          Just doing that one little thing will keep you from all kinds of grief.

          The Word of God is full of commands to keep His word before our eyes and in our mouth. It’s clear that words must be treated as a stewardship. I will leave you with two of my favorite scriptures on the importance of stewarding words. Be blessed!

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

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

Truth Pressure

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          In the early 90’s I was just beginning to really get stirred up about God’s spoken Word, mainly because I was beginning to understand the principles behind it, and not just mindlessly reciting something that I had no understanding of.

          I had an 8 page list of confessions from God’s Word that I would read out loud and declare over my life almost daily. I knew that saying what God said about me would help reinforce my identity in Christ and I was doing my best to grow into who He made me to be.

          One morning, as I was making these declarations, the Lord spoke to me and asked, “What are you doing?” I was quiet for a few seconds and then answered, “well, ummmm… I am confessing your word Lord.” He replied, “You are applying Truth Pressure.” That was the end of that conversation.

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          That was a new term for me, a new concept. I knew that particular phrase was not in the bible, but to validate what the Lord had just spoken to me I knew I must find the principle in His Word. Any Word that you hear by the Spirit must line up with the written Word or it is not valid.

          I knew that God’s Word had power, and I knew there was great power in the spoken word, but it wasn’t until I began to understand the grace of God that I saw what Truth Pressure meant and understood why confession works. So lets take a few moments to make sure we understand grace and how it is connected to what we say.  In the book of Ephesians, we see a wonderful truth concerning our speech.

 Ephesians 4:29 ~ Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

          This verse is talking about words, that minister grace to the hearer. Since we are always the first one to hear our words, I recommend we take a long look at what is coming from our lips. Is it corrupt or is it grace? Is it faith, or is it fear? Is it blessing or is it cursing? Does it edify or tear down? What kind of influence does our words have in our life?

          What exactly is grace? The best definition that I have found is, “The divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life.” Grace is Gods way of working on you from the inside out. The word of God that is spoken, and heard, ministers to us on the inside in such a powerful way that it  transform us and changes our life.

          Everything that God has prepared and provided for us, can be found in the truth of His word. Truth is full of grace, and grace is divine influence that brings transformation. We need to be speaking His word, if we are going to become what He has created us to be.vvtg

Job 22:28  ~ You will also declare a thing, And it will be established for you; So light will shine on your ways.

By declaring God’s word, we set ourselves in agreement with Him and establish a stronghold of truth about our identity in Christ. It enables the transforming power of God’s grace to mold and shape us into what He wants us to be, keeping us spinning on the potter’s wheel.

Hebrews 1:13,14 ~ But to which of the angels has He ever said: “Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?

Psalm 103:20 ~ Bless the Lord, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word.

We have angels assigned to our life. Their whole purpose is to minister on our behalf. When we give voice to God’s word, the angels take heed to it and get busy bringing that word to pass in our lives. I think it would be a tragedy to have a bunch of angels that are unemployed, twiddling their thumbs just waiting for us to speak life and grace that they might do what they are created to do. Let’s put them to work!

          Let’s look at  Ephesians 29 again and we will add verses 30 and 31.

 Ephesians 4:29-31 ~ Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

          In other words, if you are not speaking words that edify, ministering grace to those who hear them, including yourself, you are grieving the Holy Spirit. I know,………….OUCH!

          The most frequent sins are sins of the mouth. How we control our mouth and how we bridle our tongue is a direct reflection on how mature we are spiritually. The truth is, if you sin with your mouth daily, you are but a child, regardless of how long you have been a Christian or how much knowledge of God’s word you have. It is not the word that you know that brings maturity, but the word that you DO.

James 3:2-4 ~ For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. 3Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. 4Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.trth ptsr

          The word “perfect” in verse two simply means mature, or of full age. maturity is measured, in great part, by your mouth and how you control it. As we see in the above verse, our tongue is the steering wheel of our life. If we put our hands on the wheel, we can take control of our life and direct it down a path that leads to life, happiness and fulfillment. I think too many of us are driving down life’s road and saying, “Look Ma! No hands!” letting life speak louder than truth and allowing the facts of life to define us instead of the word of truth.

Proverbs 18:21 ~ Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

          The bible is very clear that our words have tremendous power. When it is God’s Word we are speaking, we have the power to minister His life and grace into the situation.

          Confession of God’s Word applies “Truth Pressure” to your heart. God’s Word is filled with divine influence (grace) that feeds and strengthens your spirit man until it that truth shows up in your soul and body and is reflected in your life for all to see. Change will always come first in the heart before you see it manifest in the natural. Everything in the Kingdom of God starts in seed form, including God’s word. So make a decision to plant some seeds of life and grace in the garden of your heart today. YOU ARE WORTH IT!

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