Posts Tagged ‘grace’

“Do you love me more than these,” Jesus asked of Peter who had not too long before boldly stated before all the disciples “Though all men forsake Thee, I will not.”

Here Jesus was graciously administering some much needed comfort and healing to Peter because of his earlier three denials with three precious opportunities to confirm his love for Christ. Yet Jesus takes Peter further as He continues with His instruction to Peter as to how He wants Peter to love Him; 1. Feed my Sheep and 2. Follow me. What a blessing it is that the Lord instructs us how to pray, love, serve and worship Him.

Certainly nobody could deny Peter loved Christ in view of the fact that he had been willing to lay down his life for Jesus who tells us there is no greater love than that . . . however, love needs to be . . . no, actually love must be given to the honoring of its proclaimed point of affection. Godly love doesn’t merely seek its own expression; rather it pursues the gratification of the other. (more…)

Luke 2:26 – And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

Luke  2:11 – For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

Ephesians 4:3 – Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,  6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.  7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

The revealing of God’s precious truths is often times progressive, as is witnessed to God’s names being revealed over time to humanity. Therefore we can see throughout history how so many others of God’s truths have been given one tidbit at a time is not rare. Holy men of old often prophesied of future events in fragments, “here a little” and then in another text, perhaps even another prophet, “there a little.” This method of enlightenment is in exact accordance with what the bible teaches us. I Corinthians 13:9 tells us straightforwardly that we all only “prophesy in part.” However, when we allow the Holy Spirit  to help us properly assemble these parts by His illuminating touch, these fragments give valuable insight into otherwise veiled truths of scripture. Such is true for a verse which would otherwise be a puzzling piece of scripture –

For without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, [God was] justified in the spirit, [God was] seen of angels, [God had] preached unto the Gentiles, [God was] believed on in the world, [God was] received up into glory” (I Timothy 3:16).

The reason “justified in the spirit” is in bold print is because people often overlook it. Many people simply read over that part of the text as if it were just King James jargon, put there merely as some spiritual word filler. It’s not. It’s a very important confirmation of a little known and taught part of the Christian faith.

Despite Paul’s warning to Corinth church that some would come “preaching another Jesus . . . another gospel,” most people are positive they know WHO Jesus is, (II Cor. 11:14). Many have never even considered scripturally proving that their “Jesus” is the same one Paul preached. However, in light of Paul’s warning of “another Jesus” we would do well to examine our “Jesus” in the light of the “holy scriptures” with the help of the Holy Spirit given them “to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (II Timothy 3:15).

Jesus was, and is, called the “son of God.” However, the word “son” was not intended to infer He would be God’s descendant, or offspring, such as we have offspring. The word was more prophetic of THE CHILD’s gender which God promised would be born. From the beginning, when Adam fell into sin in the garden, the Gospel went forth in that God promised a deliverer would come. A “seed” that would bruise the head of the serpent (the devil), and the serpent would “bruise HIS heel” (Genesis 3.15). A “man child” would be born.

Jesus Christ is that “seed” and “man child.” A “son” that could only have been OF God, for as it was foretold, the child would be born of a virgin. While this child’s conception was accomplished entirely OF God, men would still call him “son of man,” (although no earthly man took part in His conception).

The phrase “Son of man” is merely a Jewish maxim which testifies of one’s humanity, as it is used by God toward Ezekiel so many times. In Christ’s case, it too testified of His humanity – that He in fact was “born” a man.

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same . . . for verily He took not on Him the nature of angels: but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren” (Hebrews 2:14-17).

Just as Isaiah foretold, “a virgin” had conceived and brought forth a “son.” They would call this child, as both Isaiah prophesied and the angel Gabriel foretold, “Immanuel . . . which being interpreted is, God-with-us” (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:18-23, Luke 1:26-35).

Consider a few more scriptures;

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, (1)The Mighty God, (2) The Everlasting Father, (3) The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Ye are My witnesses,” saith the Lord, “and My servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He [the child to come]. Before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord; and besides Me there is no saviour. I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King” (Isaiah 43:10,11,15).

Now compare the above verses with these –

 And He said unto them, “Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.  I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.”  Then said they unto him, “Who art Thou?” And Jesus saith unto them, “Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.  I have many things to say and to judge of you: but He that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him.”  They understood not that He spake to them of the Father.  Then said Jesus unto them, “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am He, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” (John 8:23-28)

Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am He. (John 13:19)

Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus saith unto them, “I am He.” And Judas also, which betrayed Him, stood with them.  As soon then as He had said unto them, “I am He,” they went backward, and fell to the ground.  Then asked He them again, “Whom seek ye?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am He: if therefore ye seek Me, let these go their way.”  That the saying might be fulfilled, which He spake, Of them which Thou gavest Me have I lost none. (John 18:4)

In Jesus alone we see the above verses fulfilled. As I Timothy 3:16 says, “God was manifested in the flesh.” Amazingly, in His finite, fleshly form as a “son of man,” God’s love and commitment would be revealed for all to see. His incarnation would enable both men and angels witnessed His unselfish character by manner of the life and death of the man Jesus. Oh what wondrous thing is this? “God in Christ” has reconciled “the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them” (I Cor. 5:19).

Through the wisdom of His incarnation God has revealed “unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: that in the dispensation of the fullness of time He might gather together in one ALL things in Christ, both which are in heaven [angels], and which are on earth [man]; even in Him [Jesus]” (Ephesians 1:9, 10).

Now we who believe can see both “the power of God, and the wisdom of God” in Jesus Christ (I Cor. 1:18-24). Therefore, we give “thanks unto the Father . . . Who hath delivered us from the kingdom of darkness, and translated us unto the kingdom of His dear Son . . . Who is the image [manifestation] of the invisible God . . . He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church: Who is The Beginning, the Firstborn From The Dead; That in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him [the man child] should all fulness [of The Mighty God] dwell; and having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (see Colossians 1:12-20).

In order for Jesus to qualify as the prophetic “Christ” and accomplish all this He had to be, by necessity, simultaneously both God and Man. Were Jesus not fully God, and fully man, He could not be what He claims to be in Revelation 22:16, both “the root and offspring of David.” As the “root of David” we see Jesus Christ as “The Everlasting Father” of Isaiah 9:6 . As the “offspring of David” we see Him as the “man child” or “son” promised at the fall of man. Jesus is not merely some subservient offspring of “Father God.” No, He is the Father. Jesus is The Mighty God. This is what Isaiah 9:6 plainly tells us.

Perhaps the most common stumbling block concerning Jesus’ deity is an apparent inability to answer the question, “How can Jesus be the Everlasting Father and still pray to the Father?”

Good question. Nevertheless, Isaiah said the “Prince of Peace” would be none other than “The Everlasting Father,” or as some would assert “the Father of Eternity.” Indeed it is a mystery, but just because something is a mystery does not make it impossible. A mystery is simply proof of ignorance, a lack of knowledge and understanding.

A good basic guideline for understanding Christ, the God/man, is to remember that God in His pure essence “is a spirit” (John 4:24). By Jesus’ own words we know that “a spirit hath not flesh and bones” (Luke 24:29). Therefore, God in His pure essence as a spirit is not limited to a finite visible form. Being omnipresent, He is everywhere all the time, throughout time, at the same time – past, present, future. Therefore Jesus, while locked in time and space by His human flesh, through prayer communed with His Omnipresent Spirit, “the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity” (Isaiah 57:15).

Now ponder this, if you could simply go back one minute in time you could both see and be with yourself. You could even talk to yourself. Would that make you two? Certainly it would seem as if there were two. Nevertheless, in truth you are still only one. One in heart, one in mind, but in two places. It is the escape from time’s hold that affords you the ability to be in two places simultaneously. You, from the future, could warn yourself of what is yet to come. This is what Jesus revealed to Nicodemus. “No man has ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven,” (John 3:13). Jesus was there talking to Nicodemus, yet referring to Himself as “is in heaven.” It is this unique aspect of God’s Omnipresence by which He knows those who would be saved from the foundations of the world.

“Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am He” (Isaiah 41:4).

“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel will stand, and I will do all My pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9,10).

“I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of My mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass. I have even from the beginning declared it to thee: before it came to pass I shewed it thee: lest thou shouldest say, mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them” (Isaiah 48:3,5).

At Athens Paul encourage the men to “seek the Lord [Jesus], if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us: for in Him we live and move and have our very being . . . ” (Acts 17:27,28). Again in Psalm 139 David reasons with God saying, “Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there. If I take the wings of morning, and dwell In the uttermost parts of the sea: even there shall Your hand lead me and Your right hand hold me” (Verses 7-10).

“Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:24).

Thus we can see the omnipresence of the “eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God.”

We see in Romans how great a relationship one can have “IN” Christ.“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are IN Christ Jesus.” This “IN Christ Jesus” is different from the “in”we see spoken to the men of Athens, “IN Him we live and move and have our very being.” This “IN” is much more. It is more than just some hyper-spiritual concept concerning the “Christian position.” This “IN” is a state of intimate communion one may have with Christ. However, this is only possible after one has made a conscious resolve to “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1, see I John 1:3,7).

This “Spirit” we must walk after? Who is it? It is the “Spirit of Christ” of course. Is it not Him we want to be “IN” and be intimate with?

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the SPIRIT, if so be that the SPIRIT OF GOD dwell in you. Now if any man have not the SPIRIT OF CHRIST, he is none of His. (Romans 8:9)

Furthermore this “Spirit of Christ” is none other than the Holy Spirit. Due to “the mystery of Christ” a common  mistake many make is they perceive the phrase “Holy Spirit” to be a proper name. But when you think about it you’ll see it’s actually a precise definition of God. He’s holy and in essence He’s a spirit. Therefore He alone deserves to be called the “Holy Spirit.”)

Consider all these times referred to this “mystery” –

Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began. (Ro 16:25)

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory. (1Co 2:7)

How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ). (Eph 3:3,4)

That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and [even] of the Father and of Christ. (Col 2:2)

Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds. (Col 4:3)

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God [Who is a Spirit] was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (1Tim 3:16)

Let’s look at a few more scriptures concerning this mystery –

God, who at sundry times and in divers manner spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son . . . the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person” (Hebrew 1:1-3).

Note the words in bold type, “God, spake, by the prophets, by His Son.” Let’s continue.

“For the prophesy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (II Peter 1:21).

Here we see “God” who “spake, by the prophets” in Hebrews 1:1&2 is here speaking by “holy men of God as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Same God, same prophets, same Spirit.

Again, let’s continue;

“. . . Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify . . . which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into” (I Peter 1:11,12).

The “ prophets” through which “God . . . spake” as they “were moved by the Holy Ghost” spake what “the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify.” Peter continues to say that the preaching of this good news continues to come by the unction of the “Holy Ghost sent down from heaven,”

“Now the Lord [Jesus] is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty” (II Corinthians 3:17).

In light of all this, I hope all could and would agree that when the Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ that it is the same Spirit. If so, then when Paul states that God was “justified in the Spirit,” we should understand, it was the Holy Spirit of the “eternal, immortal, invisible, the ONLY wise God” Almighty that was “manifested in the flesh” of Jesus, (I Timothy 1:17; 3:16).

“Who has ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who hath gather the wind in his fist? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is his name? And what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?” (Proverbs 30:4).

The above verse is a riddle that men have long sought to answer. In their search for the answer, neither men’s own imagination, nor their adversary has failed to provide a variety of explanations to select from. However, we cannot afford to be wrong in our selection. We must be certain we “know in whom” we believe (II Timothy 1:12). Fortunately, He who has placed the question is also willing to answer it.

Having been warned as Christians, we should “believe not every spirit [be it of man or angel],” but we are to “try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Here’s how we know those that are of God, “Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world” (I John 4:1-4).

Now take a moment and consider the lasting effect of Jesus upon humanity. Now really, who but an ignorant fool would deny that a man named “Jesus” ever existed. Even historians who do not subscribe to the beliefs of Christianity readily acknowledge Jesus’ existence. Even many religions which oppose the Christian faith acknowledge the historical man named Jesus. A person with any intellect must, due to the over whelming evidence, must acknowledge that not only did such a man “come in the flesh,” but that He died in the flesh as well! Nevertheless, these two truths are not what the Apostle John was talking about.

The spirit of antichrist is not “anti-Jesus came in the flesh,” nor is it “anti-Jesus the subservient offspring of God come in the flesh.” Amazingly, neither is the spirit of antichrist “anti- god.” Quite the contrary, the Bible tells us this spirit of antichrist is really, to many people’s surprise, “pro-god.” It just is not “pro the true living God,” instead it is “pro the existence of a god.”

See the Bible says “that man of sin” will exalt himself “so that he AS GOD sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (II Thessalonians 2:2,4). Yet this he could not do IF people truly knew that Jesus Christ alone is God. Therefore, the spirit of antichrist is ANTI-TRUTH, or “Anti-Jesus/The Almighty God come in the flesh.”

Jesus said, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many will come in My name, saying I am the Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:4,5). These are men who will acknowledge both the life and death of Jesus, and openly admit that He was the foretold and promised deliverer that would come, the Christ. Yet their definition of the “Christ” is different from that of God’s.

Countless so-called Christian leaders nowadays deny the reality Jesus Christ was “The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father” come in the flesh (Isaiah 9:6). They readily admit He is the “Prince of Peace” of Isaiah 9:6, but declare that He cannot be the Everlasting Father.

“This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ hath not god. He that abideth in the doctrine if Christ, He hath BOTH the [Everlasting] Father and the Son” (II John 7, 9).

Notice that the word “doctrine” in II John 9 is singular. John was not referring to the many doctrines or teachings given by Jesus. John was referring to that one singular doctrine which is the foundation of true Christianity. It is the teaching concerning “who Jesus is.” The Bible calls this teaching the “Doctrine of Christ.” God will not permit this doctrine to be changed. To do so will certainly have severe eternal consequences. Believe me. The Apostle warns us that “if any come unto you, and bring not THIS doctrine [but a different teaching of whom Christ is], receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is a partaker of his evil deeds” (II John 10, 11).

“Who is a liar but he that denieth Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son [are the selfsame]. Whosoever denieth the [Isaiah 9:6] Son, the same hath not the [Isaiah 9:6 Everlasting] Father: But He that acknowledgeth the Son hath the [Everlasting] Father also” (I John 2:22,23). WHY? Because “They” are the same person. Scriptures say if this truth be hid, it is hidden to them that are lost, those whom the god of this world HAS blinded their minds, “lest the glorious light of the gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (II Corinthians 4:3,4).

GOD WAS JUSTIFIED? — OF WHAT?

It is my prayer that  all would at least be seriously considering that these presented truths are part of the “Doctrine of Christ.” For it is the “rock” upon which the true church must be founded. To be ignorant of this truth, or disbelieving, is to be blinded to the true light of the glory of God (II Corinthians 4:36).

Perhaps now is a good time to consider just what the word “justified” means. In I Timothy 3:16 the Greek word translated “Justified” is “dikaioo,” which comes from the root word “dikaios.”

Let’s look at their definitions;

Dikaios – equitable (in character or act); by implication, innocent, holy (absolutely or relatively): just, meet, right (eous).
Dikaioo – to render (i.e. show or regard as) just or innocent.

Webster tells us to be justified is to be shown just, right, and to have functioned in accord with good reason. To be freed from blame; declared guiltless; acquitted; absolved. By these definitions we could easily say, “to be justified is to be vindicated of false accusation by the revealed, proven and witnessed (seen) facts.”

So then, what was the accusation? By whom? The first recorded accusation in the Bible was against God. What happened? Well, there Eve was one day when the serpent asked her, “Has God said you should not eat of every tree in the garden?” Eve’s reply was, “We may eat the fruit of every tree in the garden; except the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, you shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.” And the serpent said unto Eve, “You shall not surely die: for God knows that in the day you eat it your eyes shall be open, ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:1-24).

Here we see the devil, via the serpent, claiming God to be a liar, saying, “You shall not surely die.” Satan then implies that selfishness is the reason God does not want Adam and Eve to eat of the tree. Satan concludes that God doesn’t want any other gods around, “God knows . . . ye shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5).

Satan basically accused God of being a lover of self, and if selfish, than God must be a sinner as well. It was this manner of sin that provoked God to not spare “the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgement” (II Peter 2:4). For this manner of sin there can be no forgiveness. “Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come” (Matthew 10:25).

We know Satan’s accusations are false and by them we can see both his jealousy and hatred toward God. Interestingly, scriptures show that the incident in the garden was not the first time Satan accused God of greedily hoarding the throne. This we’ll see as we look at the devil’s beginning.

THE DEVIL’S BEGINNING

The Apostle John said, “The devil sinneth from the beginning” (I John 3:8). The beginning of what? From the beginning of his negative conversion. What does that mean? Well, let’s look at those texts of scripture the Bible offers us for insight into his former state.

“Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God . . . Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God: thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in all thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity wast found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise [covetousness] they have filled the midst if thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, 0 covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings that they may behold thee” (Ezekiel 28:13-17).

“How thou art fallen from heaven, 0 Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thy heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High. Yet thou shall be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit” (Isaiah 14:12-15).

Now some have rejected the idea that these two passages have anything to do with the devil. They say Ezekiel was specifically speaking of, and to, the king of Tyrus, and only the king of Tyrus. However the king of Tyrus was never “in Eden the garden of God,” nor was he ever an “anointed cherub.” Certainly, the king of Tyrus was born and not “created.”

Some regard Isaiah’s prophesy as merely a prophesy against the king of Babylon. Yet Isaiah, as did Ezekiel, spoke by the same Holy Spirit for our benefit (I Corinthians 14:3-5). These two prophesies focused upon these two earthy kings upon because they, like Satan, exalted themselves beyond their realm. While these prophesies focused upon these kings personal sins, Satan’s sin was the true focal point of the word.

Yes, Ezekiel and Isaiah both, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, recorded the fall of the anointed cherub that we might have insight into the beginning of all sin — SELF-esteem. This is why Paul told Timothy not to place a novice, one young in the faith, into a position of leadership, “Lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil” (I Timothy 3:6).

Not that the devil would not condemn the novice, God alone is the one who condemns sinners. Rather, just as Satan was condemned for his pride, so would be the novice. For from the beginning “pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

Both the king of Tyrus and the king of Babylon had displayed attributes which originated in Satan, the ultimate chief of sinners. As it happened with Satan, their positions and wealth seduced them too. God had given them positions of honor and therefore they thought they were something special, when in reality they were nothing. The deceitfulness of sin caught them. Their positions and power came not of themselves. God gave it to them. Therefore their posture should have been one of humility and thankfulness, not pride.

Look at Ezekiel’s and Isaiah’s account of the devil’s heart. “Thine heart was lifted up because of thine beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness” (Ezekiel 28:17). “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend unto heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will also sit upon the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the clouds: I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13,14).

Here we can see the progression of SELF-esteem. First, it caused Satan to separate himself from the rest of God’s angelic beings saying, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.” The “stars” are symbolic of angels, see Revelation 12:4,7. Not being satisfied with being above his peers he says, “I will be like the Most High.” Mesmerized by his own beauty, Satan felt he was entitled to the same admiration and praise as God, the Creator of that beauty. God is worthy of more glory “inasmuch as he who has built the house hath more honor than the house” (Hebrews 3:3).

Self-esteem will always lead to the same end, humiliation and destruction. Sure, like many sins in their early stages, it can make one feel good, but only temporarily. Therefore, because of his SELF-esteem, Satan had corrupted his wisdom and forfeited both his position with God and his beauty. Any beauty he now has is only an illusion. Satan had sought to honor himself instead of his Creator and was therefore condemned, (Romans 1:25).

“I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thy iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire in the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be anymore” (Ezekiel 28:17-19).

“Yet shalt thou be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, is this the man [devil]that did shake kingdoms; that made all the world a wilderness, and destroyeth the cities thereof; that openeth not the house of his prisoners” (Isaiah 14:15-17).

DEVILS IN HEAVEN

In these verses God had obviously not only judged (made an accurate assessment of) Satan’s heart, but condemned (sentenced) him as well. Therefore, the questions arise –

  • Why then, if Satan was already condemned, was he there loose in the garden seducing Adam and Eve?
  • Why after being sentenced to hell was he permitted back into the heavenly throne room?

Perhaps you’ve never considered these questions before, but they are valid questions. The scriptures show us that Satan refused to be subject to God’s will for he would come and go wherever he wished. This liberty was really lawlessness. Satan’s “free spirit” was in truth nothing more than a proud, rebellious spirit, daring even to approach the throne of God!

“Now there came a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down it” (Job 1:6,7).

The scripture above continues with Satan accusing Job of serving God only for God’s blessings and protection. (Now of how many Christians today would that accusation be true?) Nevertheless, God’s response was not to ACCUSE Satan of lying. Rather, He allowed Satan to try Job, knowing Job WOULD PROVE Satan a liar. God allowed Satan to take literally everything Job had, except his wife. Yet, get this, Job WORSHIPED GOD and blessed His name!

Next Satan accused Job of serving God for his own health. Again, to disprove his lies, God permitted Satan to afflict Job nigh unto death. Yet again, “in all this, did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:4,5,10).

What do we see in all this? Two things, first we see the devil falsely accusing the righteous and, secondly, the righteous abstaining from verbal sins. To the contrary, even in adversity we see the righteous committed to trusting and serving God. Hear Job, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).

Still, back to the question, “Why did Satan have liberty to come before God in light the judgment against him?” To make this mystery more enticing let’s also consider, “Why would part of the angelic host, again in light of God’s judgment, choose to side with the devil?” Answer, (at least the only one which seems to make any sense and fits the devil’s pattern), the devil cunningly argued his defense before God and His heavenly host, and the jury was divided.

Perhaps he argued his defense by comparing his beauty and brightness to that of God’s. “What visible difference is there between me and God that God should be over me? Why, if God says it is iniquity for me to sit upon the throne, is it not for Him? Is there a double standard? Does not God do whatever He wants? Does He ask or seek our approval? How then, if simply because of my beauty I too wish to sit on the throne, can He declare me a sinner worthy of hell’s torment? If this is true, than by His own judgment, God deserves the same! Is not God doing that which He Himself condemns? How then can it be justice for me to be condemned and not God as well?”

Oh what blasphemy! Nevertheless, this fits Satan’s wild accusations made earlier with Eve. “FOR GOD KNOWS . . . YOU SHALL BE GODS.” Satan insinuated that it was due to God being egotistical and self-centered that He refused Adam and Eve to eat of the tree. If they attempted to be “gods” then God would condemn them too.

“God’s not willing to share the mount. Who’s He kidding? All He wants is to sit up there, high and lofty, and require us to worship Him,” argues Satan. “A little too much self-esteem I’d say. Really, is it fair for God to send me to hell simply I because I wanted to be like Him? It’s not like I wanted His throne, just my own. I simply wanted to be LIKE the Most High, NOT TO BE THE MOST HIGH.”

Satan’s reasoning must have been pretty convincing, since part of the heavenly host accepted his lies as truth and sided with him. His desire to be a god to the other angels became a reality as one-third of the angels were swept away in his revolt against the Lord. As the heavenly vision in Revelation 12 illustrates, the dragon, who is Satan, “drew a third part of the stars of heaven” down to earth (verse 4). As verse seven says, Satan had got the allegiance of the fallen angels who became “his” BECAUSE THEY TOOK PART IN HIS SIN!

Those angels who sided with Satan did so simply because they loved his ideology more than God. Satan proposed a life equal to God’s in that it should be answerable to none. In his craftiness he managed to arouse a “pride of [one’s own] life,” a lust for SELF-esteem. From that point on the fallen angels became slaves to their envy, having hearts that coveted the very majesty of God!

These angels embraced Satan’s idiot-ology. By allowing themselves to be seduced by all his “deceivableness of unrighteousness,” they too were condemned. They rejected the “love of the truth” so God gave them over to Satan’s “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie. That they all might be damned who believed not the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thessalonians 2:19), Satan’s accusations had shaken all of God’s creation. No angel could escape the effect of Satan’s lie that God only does what He wanted to do, regardless of others and He condemns those who seek to exercise the same “freedom” or “right.” Still, most of the angels chose to put their trust in God and remained loyal, emotionally unsettled maybe, but loyal nonetheless.

So why didn’t God, the Almighty, simply wink His eye or close His hand and do away with all those rebellious angels? Certainly, just as easily as they were spoken into creation they could have been erased or destroyed. But God, even though He had declared His judgment against the fallen angels, delayed the executing of His judgment against them. This is because God is a God of love and truth. His priority was to insure, by a personal irrefutable demonstration of that love and truth, which no accusation of any kind would, or could, ever be thrust upon His holy person again.

Therefore God’s priority was not one of vengeance, retaliating against His accuser and those who believed his lies. Rather, God’s first priority was to prove beyond all doubt His character in the hearts and minds of the faithful angels, see Ephesians 3:8-11 and I Peter 1:12 below. God had a mysterious plan whereby He could forever eliminate any grounds for suspicion in the hearts of those that would believe in Him. What was God’s plan? He would first justify Himself — THEN avenge Himself THROUGH His heavenly host!

“Unto me, who is less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and make all men to see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, Who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known, by the church, the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:8-11).

“Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves [the prophets of old], but unto us did they minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; Which things the angels desire to look into” (I Peter 1:12).

Instead of defending Himself, God remained silent before His accuser. He did not strive to clear His name in the heavens nor win the hearts of humanity with “enticing words.” He preferred a “demonstration of His Spirit and power,” (I Corinthians 2:4,5). Accused of being an egotist, unfair and domineering, God would forever discredit all these blasphemous lies through the work of the cross.

Dear reader, God delights in all His creatures, and He desires that they would delight in Him. He has given His love freely and longs for love to be freely returned. God knows that our love, if it is to be true love, MUST be freely given with absolute trust. Don’t be deceived, Satan lied. God knew it. Unfortunately, a third part of the angels didn’t. Seduced by Satan’s perverted and corrupt wisdom they chose his side. It was a fatal choice, but still a very popular one today.

There is no neutral ground one can take. God will not permit it. In His eyes, one’s failure to stand God and separate from sinners is a stand against Him. Consequently, Satan’s lies forced every angel to choose sides. Likewise, we too are forced to do the same. We must separate or partake of their sins (11 John 9-11, II Cor. 6:14-17, Rev. 18:4).

“Come out from among them, and be ye separate . . . and . . . I will receive you. Come out . . . that ye be not partakers of their sins. He that is not with Me is against Me” (II Cor. 6:17, Rev. 18:4, Matt. 12:30).

FALSE ACCUSATIONS

As it stands, we’ve seen the devil deceive Eve, call God a liar, and accuse righteous Job. Are you surprised by all this? You shouldn’t be. This has been Satan’s manner of sin “from the beginning” (I John 3:8). We were warned by Jesus that “If they have called the master of the house [God] Beelzebub [Chief of Sinners], how much more shall they call them of His household?” (Matthew 10:25).

Be not deceived, just as the righteous before us have been falsely accused by Satan and his children, so will be the righteous in our day. Let us therefore take our consolation in Christ alone, for He has promised, “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. REJOICE, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:11,12).

False accusations have always been the main ammunition used by Satan to attack those who would choose to live godly. As a swordsman is a master of his weapon, so is our enemy with his lies. It truly is as the psalmist says, “The proud have forged a lie against me” (Psalm 119:69), To “forge” something is to intentionally manufacture something false in order to pass it off as genuine or true.

Remember how at Jesus’ trial they “sought false witnesses . . . to put Him to death,” but they found none? “Yea, though many false witnesses came, yet they found none.” The problem wasn’t a shortage of accusations. The problem was the credibility of the witnesses. They were unable to “forge” a lie against our Lord and Savior. Then came two false witnesses which said, “This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God and build it again in three days,” (Matthew 26:60, 61). However, what Jesus really said was, “Destroy this temple [His body], and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). Oh how skillful the adversary is in twisting the words of God.

The Bible holds numerous accounts of those faithful to God being falsely accused. In Acts 6:11 we see Stephen being accused of speaking “blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.” In Macedonia, Paul and Silas were accused of troubling the whole city! Because of it they were beaten and cast into prison. In Thessalonica their preaching caused such an uproar they were actually accused of “turning the world upside down!” See Acts 16:20,21 and Acts 17:5-7,

Paul, afterwards, was called “a pestilent fellow, a mover of sedition among all the Jews of the world, a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes: who hath gone about and profane the temple” (Acts 24:5). Even before Festus, the governor of Judea, the Jews “laid many grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove” (Acts 25:7,8). One can but speculate what profane lies the false prophet Barjesus forged to withstand Barnabas and Paul (Acts 13:6-12).

The devil and his “children” will never cease forging their lies against the church. For as “Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith. But they will progress no farther, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. But ye have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, afflictions . . . what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (II Timothy 3:8-12).

LOWER THAN THE ANGELS

In the book of Hebrews we read that Jesus “was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death . . . that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” For as much as we are “flesh and blood, He also likewise took part of the same: that through [His] death on the cross He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetimes subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:9,14,15).

Now many people perceive Satan’s “power of death” in Hebrews 2:14 the same as having the “keys of death” in Revelation 1:18. It’s not, Psalm 68:20 says, “our God is the God of salvation; and unto God belong the issues of death.” The devil has NEVER had the unilateral power to take life from us. God alone determines and permits the time of every man’s death, not the devil. We see this proven in the Old Testament where the dead were brought back to life by God’s servants (I Kings 17:17-23, II Kings 4:32-37, II Kings 13:21).

In the New Testament we see that Jesus raised Lazarus, Jarius’ daughter and the widow’s son from the dead. He also gave the “power to raise the dead” to His disciples prior to His death on the cross. Also we can see that the devil could never have killed Job’s family if God had not permitted it. Likewise, concerning the “beast” of Revelation “IT,” meaning permission, “WAS GIVEN him to make war with the saints and to overcome them” (Revelation 13:7).

Certainly, we must all agree that there are certain things people can do to alter their appointed time of death, to lengthen it or shorten it. Some examples are eating right and exercising versus substance abuse and suicide. However, without God’s allowing, death can and will evade or conquer any man’s personal desires, see Rev. 9:6.

Proverbs 18:21 say, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue,” and THIS is where the devil’s “power of death” rests. All he can do on his own is lie, undermine, distort, and pervert the truth of God. He mishandles it by over emphasizing some parts while minimizing or ignoring other indispensable parts. This is known as the “Strain at a gnat and swallow a camel” religion (Matthew 23:23-26). The result of this kind of religion is death. Satan’s strategy is to shipwreck every Christian’s faith through false accusations and false “doctrines of devils” (I Timothy 1:19, 4:1).

To counter the devil’s crusade of deception, the Holy Spirit seeks to illuminate the yielded heart of the believer to His precious truths. Not just the written truth, but the Living Truth, Himself! God came in the flesh to discredit Satan’s lies and had long since returned via His Holy Spirit to establish true faith in the heart of every believer.

DISPROVING SATAN’S LIES

“For this purpose was the Son of God manifest, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (I John 3:8). How? “. . . Christ Jesus, Who, being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but MADE HIMSELF of no reputation, and took on Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:9-11).

Yes, the Supreme Governor of the universe made Himself lower than the angels. In an earthen vessel of flesh and blood dwelt “all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 1:9, 2:9). In frail, humble humanity the revelation of God’s eternal glory was unveiled and through it His divine character was clearly and undeniably revealed to all.

“The LORD made bare [revealed] His Holy Arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” (Isaiah 52:10).

Yes, He who was once “sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up” descended and manifested Himself in the form of a man for all the nations to see. Yet as Isaiah said, “Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For He [the human manifestation of God, Jesus] shall grow up before Him [His omnipresent eternal Spirit] as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground,” (Isaiah 6:1, 53:1,2, John 12:41).

Think about that for a minute, “a tender plant . . .a root out of dry ground?” What does that mean?

Let’s say you have two planter pots, in one you plant a tomato seedling and in the other you plant an identical seedling. The first you water every day as recommended, the other you only water every third day. The first grows as it should, strong and healthy and becomes a fine-looking tomato plant.

The other however, you only water every third day. It grows up to be a tender plant, having its roots in dry soil. When you compare the two you immediately favor the first healthy plant. The second one has no outward attributes that compel you to it. This is the incarnation of Christ.

“For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” (Isaiah 53:2)

He who once descended upon Mount Sinai in fire causing the whole mount to quake greatly came into the world as an infant, a male child, through the womb of a virgin. Upon entering into this world “this child” was “set for the rise and fall of many in Israel: and for a sign which shall be [falsely] spoken against” (Luke 2:34).

The Almighty chose not to come with an appearance like that of King Saul, who was obviously a “choice young man” and “goodly [handsome]; and there was not a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders upward he was higher than any of the people” (I Samuel 9:2). Surely this was the kind of Christ many were looking for, and still are. But no, God took for Himself a body with “no form nor comeliness” that “when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him” (Isaiah 53:2). God did not attempt to win our love by impressing us with a majestic display of outward beauty. No, He laid all that aside and in a beaten, whipped, spat upon, crucified and pierced body, He silently, but openly, proved His love for us and forever settled any question of being worthy of our love.

God refuted the lies of the devil by condescending to life form that was even lower than the angels, man. He lived a life that proved to both the angels and humanity that He was worthy of both the love and service of all His creatures. As a man Jesus showed how we ought to live our lives for everything that Jesus said and did was in full accordance with the will of His Father (John 4:34, 5:19, 8:8, 9). Having Himself learned the benefit of obedience by the things He suffered; Jesus set the standard for all who would live godly (Hebrews 5:8, 9). “Christ . . . suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow in His footsteps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: Who when he was reviled, reviled not again: when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judges righteously” (I Peter 2:21-23).

Almighty God “was brought as a lamb to the slaughter” as our “offering for sin.” He who is the giver of all life “poured out His soul unto death.” He who is “our Judge . . . our lawgiver . . . our King — was numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 34:12 and the entire 53rd chapter).

Therefore “God has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and of things in the earth, and of things under the earth: and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

By the cross it was proven that Satan had lied! Jesus “spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15). God did not merely do what He wanted or deemed pleasant for Himself. Rather, as a loving Father, He did what was best for those He had created (Luke 22:41-44, Romans 15:3, Hebrews 5:7). He came not as an overbearing and selfish master. No, He came as a loving Shepherd to those who would follow Him. If this is not sufficing to clear His glorious name than consider Jesus words below:

“I counsel you to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and I chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold I stand at the door and knock: if any man will hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in unto him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. To Him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with My Father in His throne. He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches,” (Revelation 3: 18-22).

What does all this prove? It proves God is not egotistical. It proves God is not self-centered! It proves God is both just and merciful! It proves God is WILLING to share His throne! So much for those blasphemous lies of the devil! In fact, in alight of both history and scripture, God has proven Himself to be the MEEKEST and most generous “Being” ever! PRAISE HIS GLORIOUS NAME -JESUS! Certainly this might all seem hard to embrace. It should. The devil has labored hard and long to discredit God and present humanity with “another Jesus” to believe in (11 Corinthians 11:4). The truth of God’s incarnation, as the man Jesus, helps us “to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length, and the depth, and height: and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge.” It also proves Satan’s true character, as well as his defeat.

LIGHTNING FALLING FROM HEAVEN

“And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy name. And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven” (Luke 10:17,18).

The above verse is a very enlightening piece of scripture. While the disciples were away, Jesus (who was in prayer and fasting often), “beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” Now some people feel Jesus literally saw Satan cast to the earth. Others believe Jesus saw this in a spiritual sense as a result of the seventy’s mission. However, neither of these views can be supported apart from this passage.

A third opinion is that Jesus did indeed have a vision, but it was prophetic — meaning the event He witnessed was yet to take place. It is this view which has the most support of the scriptures. Personally, I believe it was this vision which enabled Jesus to set His face like flint toward the cross (Isaiah 50:5-9).

According to scripture, “He beheld Satan . . . fall,” past tense. Now in prophetic visions it is normal to see events come to pass before the events literally happen. The books of Isaiah, Daniel, and Revelation should be adequate proof for any skeptic. However, the most significant proof that this was a “prophetic vision” and not just an “event” resulting from the disciple’s mission comes from statements made by Jesus later on.

“The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. Now is My soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? But for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify Thy name. Then there came a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes. NOW is the judgement of this world: NOW shall the prince of this world be cast out [of heaven]. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me. This He said signifying what manner of death He should die” (John 12:23,24, 27-32).

“Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away and come again unto you. If you love Me, ye would rejoice, because I said I go unto My Father: for My Father [being omnipresent] is greater than I [as a man]. And now I told you before it come to pass, that when it is come to pass, you might believe. Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me” (John 14:28-30).

“. . .I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I [as a man] go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement: . . . Of judgement because the prince of this world is judged” ( John 16:7,8,11).

In these verses we hear Jesus refer to Satan’s fall (which He had already “beheld”) as something about to happen. We also see it referred to as the time in which he, “the prince of this world is judged.” It was prior to His crucifixion that Jesus said, “NOW shall the prince of this world be cast out” and “the prince of this world cometh.” Both phrases unquestionably announce an event about to occur, not one that already has.

The time of occurrence appears to be linked with the time of Christ’s death, or as John 12:23 refers to it, the time for Jesus to be “glorified.” Jesus knew the devil “hath nothing in Me” for while He was lock in time and space by His humanity, He remained in constant subjection to His Holy Infinite Spirit. Having successfully lived as a man not governed by His flesh, it was impossible for the devil to find any place to justly accuse Him. Jesus’ secret? He committed Himself to the Spirit and kept His eyes on the joy set before Him.

Four words are key to remember: “Justified, glorified, judged” and “condemned.” God was “justified” and therefore “glorified.” The devil was “judged” and therefore “condemned,” both at the same time. Both by the same event — the shedding of God’s blood on Calvary! See John 3:16 and Acts 20:28 King James Version.

WAR IN HEAVEN

“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them,” (Rev. 12: 1-12a).

Here we are told of the awesome war which occurred in heaven at Christ’s ascension. The eternal, invisible, “Holy” Spirit of “the only wise God, our Savior,” having been manifested in human flesh and justified of Satan’s blasphemous lies was received up unto the glory which He not only deserved, but earned! (I Timothy 1:17, 3:16)

The faithful angels, having “seen” the life and death of Christ were convinced that God deserved their love and serviced. United, they fought against Satan and forever expelled him from heaven. Yes, not only did the angels fight for God, they fought for God’s people as well — and continue to minister to us according to God’s will. Satan could no longer come before the throne of God and hurl his blasphemous accusations. He and his lies were put to an open shame at the cross (Colossians 2:14, 15). God’s victory could not be hid or denied. By this one pinnacle event of eternity, God “made peace through the blood of His cross . . . to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven,” (Colossians 2:12-20).

But what does God’s word say now to us? “WOE to the inhabitants of the earth . . . for the devil is come unto you having great wrath for he knows that he has but a short time” (Rev. 12:12). Having been exposed and humiliated by his defeat, Satan knows that his days are numbered. Therefore he has sought to do as much damage through deceit as he can. Therefore he has “cast out of his mouth water as a flood [false teachings] after the woman [church], that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood,” (Rev. 12:16). This is evident in the Apostle Paul’s statement to the Galatians, “I marvel that you are so soon removed [carried away] from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another Gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed,” (1:6-8).

The devil has great wrath against all man, but especially the Church. Basically, because all men are created in the image of God and He proved His love for man via the work of the cross. Therefore the devil’s only avenue of vengeance toward God is to deceive and corrupt all men. His cunning pursuit of opportunities to turn man against man in hatred for each other and to persecute, and attempt to deceive and destroy the Body of Christ is his only retaliation against God. He knows he can’t defeat God, for he was cast out of heaven. His wrath since then has been repeatedly demonstrated against the church.

But never let us fear him, rather let us fear God and give Him glory. For just as there was no uncertainty among the heavenly angels, neither should there be among the people of God. Otherwise as they cast the devil out for their sins and unbelief we too should receive like condemnation. Rather, just as they fought whole heartedly for God, so let us. Since the fall of Lucifer, the anointed cherub, “the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent [or aggressive, must] take it by force” for the devil will oppose all who would strive to enter in (Matt. 11:12). Nevertheless, just as the angels and saints of old overcame, so can we!

It is to our shame that it is so hard for us to endure a little hardship and resist a little temptation. Especially when God has promised no temptation would be so great we could not overcome it or be given a way to escape it. WE should esteem the “reproaches of Christ greater riches” than all the riches of the world. We should rejoice and count it all joy when we are considered worthy to suffer for His name. But do we?

Come on. Let’s pick up our crosses and follow Him. Unlike Jesus, we deserve our cross. Without Him our cross would have only been to our shame, but now, today, it can be to His glory! Let’s do as He says we can and “overcome the wicked one by the blood of the Lamb” and the word of our testimony. Pick up your cross! “Worthy is the Lamb which was slain to receive glory and honor and power!”

If the following verse has trouble you, or come to mind while reading this article, please see this article where I address it.
1Co 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
Live for the King… it’ll make easier to die for Him.

Jesus taught us that “all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you unto them: for this is the law and the prophets.” This is one of the great distinctions from those of other belief systems clarified by Jesus’ teachings on the oracles of God. Many religions out there aggressively preach messages of constraint, i.e., don’t treat people the way you don’t want to be treated. Often such religions and institutes affix to their messages oppressive obligations of repetitious prayer, have vain ceremonies and require their followers to maintain a cultural appearance of (perceived) piety.

Here Jesus takes us immediately into servitude to others, “Do for others what you would want them to do for you.” All those out there who continually harp on the difference between the law and grace, they would do well to pause and consider Jesus words here “for this is the law and the prophets.” Jesus wasn’t throwing away the law and saying, “From now on, this is what we do.” He was actually warning everyone not to get caught up in mere religion, that this is what God has always really required.

In the Old Testament when Balak, king of Moab, consulted with Balaam what he needed to do that he might know the righteousness of the LORD. Being ignorant to the righteousness of God, he asked what was it he had to give. Listen to his question and Balaam’s reply –

 Micah 6:6 Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? Should  I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?  7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Should I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?  8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what the LORD requires of you, do justly and love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.

Sadly, because the churches are no longer teaching from the whole Bible, many people nowadays fail to understand the distinction between the two separate aspects of “The Law,” that part which was fulfilled and done away with, and that part of which not one jot or tittle will pass away until after all is fulfilled.  Let’s look at Jesus words –

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Luke 2:26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

Luke  2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

Ephesians 4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,  6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.  7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

Due to the significance of this subject matter, I occasionally re-post this particular message (normally titled “Justified in the Spirit“) to refresh and expound on the glorious mystery God wrought in our Redeemer to help reveal (in my limited understanding and way) why God is so worthy of our love, adoration, worship and all glory.

Rewards for the Diligent

God has promised to reward us in Hebrews 11:6 with understanding if we would “diligently” seek Him. Answering His call to personal holiness, picking up our crosses and following Him is how we seek Him. To those who obey this mandate Jesus said He would give to them “to know the mystery of the kingdom of God” (Mark 4:11). “To know” we are required to “diligently seek” if we are to have any hope to find, just as we must actively knock if the door of understanding is to be opened unto us. We must humbly acknowledge our ignorance and ask for understanding if we are to be enlightened by God’s Holy Spirit. That is because nothing is more blinding or hindering to our receiving truth than the “light” one proudly thinks himself to have, as such light most often prove to be strongholds that cause men to bunker down in defense of their own historic position or greed. But even one is willing to consider that the part they know may not be correct or complete, they must remember that all one’s seeking, knocking, and asking must be with an intention of true faithfulness if one is to receive anything from God. Even then, it is still only when “our hearts condemn us not” of sin that we can have true “confidence” toward God, for it is only in that place that “whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (I John 3:21, 22).

The revealing of God’s precious truths is often times progressive, as is witnessed to God’s names being revealed over time to humanity. Therefore we can see throughout history how so many others of God’s truths have been given one tidbit at a time is not rare. Holy men of old often prophesied of future events in fragments, “here a little” and then in another text, perhaps even another prophet, “there a little.” This method of enlightenment is in exact accordance with what the bible teaches us. I Corinthians 13:9 tells us straightforwardly that we all only “prophesy in part.” However, when we allow the Holy Spirit  to help us properly assemble these parts by His illuminating touch, these fragments give valuable insight into otherwise veiled truths of scripture. Such is true for a verse which would otherwise be a puzzling piece of scripture –

For without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, [God was] justified in the spirit, [God was] seen of angels, [God had] preached unto the Gentiles, [God was] believed on in the world, [God was] received up into glory” (I Timothy 3:16).

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“Do you love me more than these,” Jesus asked of Peter who had not too long before boldly stated before all the disciples “Though all men forsake Thee, I will not.”

Here Jesus was graciously administering some much needed comfort and healing to Peter because of his earlier three denials with three precious opportunities to confirm his love for Christ. Yet Jesus takes Peter further as He continues with His instruction to Peter as to how He wants Peter to love Him; 1. Feed my Sheep and 2. Follow me. What a blessing it is that the Lord instructs us how to pray, love, serve and worship Him.

Certainly nobody could deny Peter loved Christ in view of the fact that he had been willing to lay down his life for Jesus who tells us there is no greater love than that . . . however, love needs to be . . . no, actually love must be given to the honoring of its proclaimed point of affection. Godly love doesn’t merely seek its own expression; rather it pursues the gratification of the other. (more…)

I know I have written several times on grace in the past, but we must be obedient to what we feel the Lord gives us to share. So, whoever you are, maybe this is just for you.

The follow list contains three things that God’s word not only fundamentally teaches about God’s grace, but biblical history affirms over and over again to be true as it records without partiality the triumphs and failures of those who believed in God.

  1. Grace is sufficient.
  2. Grace can be frustrated.
  3. Grace can be received in vain.

First, regarding grace’s sufficiency in the life of the believer, Paul was assure by God that His grace would be adequate to see him through whatever temptations he would endure or the trials and persecutions he must suffer for the cause of Christ.

2 Corinthians 12:9 – And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Paul learned his confidence was only to be in God’s grace, and that he could not depend on his own strength or power. For it was in his weakness where Paul found he was able to experience God’s fullness in a way he couldn’t in those areas where his own strength or wisdom were adequate, such as making and mending tents. But when it came to his salvation, doing the work of the ministry, fighting the fight, or running the race, Paul knew full well he could not do those things apart from the grace of God given unto him.

Furthermore, the fact that God had given such empowering grace unto Paul, he was fully aware he must take full advantage of it so as not to frustrate it, lest he fall short in the calling God had given unto him.

1 Corinthians 9:16 – For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

I often use the following example when speaking of God’s “sufficient” grace. Someone needs to get somewhere but they have no means to get there. They are at an impasse and do not know what they are going to do because they have to get there or the consequences will be severe if they fail to do so. Upon hearing of their plight I offer them the use of my car, to which they say, “Great, but I have no money for gas.” I tell them no worries, I will fill up the tank and that will be more than sufficient to get them there.

Being greatly relieved, they are now confident that they can safely make the trip because they have been given all they need for the journey, but while on their way they get to thinking they have more than enough time and there is “more than sufficient” gas, so they take the liberty to go sightseeing to other places along the way. Getting caught up in their new found liberty with my car and gas, they carelessly are driving around exhausting the gas. Soon they turn around towards their original destination and suddenly to their surprise the car abruptly stops out of gas!

Is this is not like the parable of the ten virgins Jesus gave us? Or the warning in Hebrews 4-

Hebrews 4:1 – Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. (more…)

I would like to share a quote with you by John H. Leith. John is a brother whose book is titled appropriately by its contents, “Creeds of the Churches.” This quote comes from his preface an serves well as a reminder of our obligation to God to prove all things and to hold fast to that which is good.

 “. . . the nature of man is an intelligent being. Just because of intelligence the Christian, of all men, has to learn to discern with agonizing clarity what is conceivable by him about God Himself. What cannot be thought through critically and expressed with reasonable clarity cannot demand the allegiance of man’s whole being. Understanding is necessary for man’s full commitment. Hence faith must be spoken and made intelligible. That is not to say faith must be enclosed within the limits of reason, but it does mean that faith must never require neither the closing of the mind nor the sacrifice of the integrity of the mind.”

This statement has possibly encouraged me more than any other man’s personal words of wisdom for the sake of Christian unity, to be willing to spend whatever time and effort required, without concern or measure, to labor in love to understand another man’s personal profession of faith. Likewise, it has compelled me to be as clear and thorough as possible when sharing my own convictions concerning the things that pertain to God, our virgin born, crucified and resurrected Lord and Savior Jesus and the precepts of pertaining to His judgments and eternal Kingdom. For if I am not willing and careful to invest the time in others, seek God’s truth with prayer and fasting, than I too will doubtless be found guilty of being a slothful servant and therefore a willful hindrance to fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer for the glory and unity of His church. (more…)

CaptureAnd you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross. (Colossians 2:13,14)

Those who have been “churched” for a while are likely to have heard this verse interpreted as the whole of God’s law being nailed to the cross as being now null and void, or no longer relevant in the life of a believer. That once we “accept” Jesus’ death as a payment for our sins, we have no further obligation than to just accept His wondrous grace by faith . . . and accept that we are always going to be messing up and still sinning all the days of our lives. But because of “grace,” no worries.  I fear that many such believers have been duped into swallowing a grace that cannot effectually save them from their sins; while at the same time have been convinced into casting away God’s provisional lamp for their feet.

I ask the reader to be prayerfully open minded and to consider, what if what was nailed to the cross as “handwriting of ordinances that was against us” was not the ceremonial law of Judaism, but something else? That is not to say the ceremonial law did not fulfill its function and therefore has completed its course in God’s plan for humanity, for in Roman’s 7 Paul labors to persuade his Jewish brethren to acknowledge that they were now free from ceremonial rites because that which they pointed to had come, the Lamb of God which not only bore the sins of the world, but ended the sin-offerings as well. For all those were merely shadows of Christ body as an offering to come.

Certainly it was not the moral aspect of God’s law which was nailed to the cross and taken out of the way, for consider how the scriptures bare witness that Law was “perfect, converting the soul . . . making wise the simple . . . rejoicing the heart . . . pure and enlightening the eyes.”  Furthermore the scripture also records in Psalms the prayerful request that God would “grant me thy law graciously,” which seems to be an interesting twist to much that is preached today against “The Law,” that the law could actually be given in grace.

Psalm 19:7 – The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

Psalm 119:29 – Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.

The ceremonial law has by God’s design expired in as much as it fulfilled its prophetic purpose of proclaiming the sacrificial death of Jesus and therefore has ceased, just as the silhouette of shadow created by the light above becomes covered by the arrival of the object that cast it. Such have the ceremonial/sacrificial laws fulfilled their purpose and are done away with by the offering of the body of Christ, as is witnessed in verse 17.

 Colossians 2:16 – Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

However, that does not mean they cannot be recognized and kept as unto the Lord as we see in Roman 14, but they are no longer a basis for defining sin in the life of the believer. It is only when they return to sacrificing animals as sin offerings again that they began to crucify Christ afresh by rejecting the finality of the Cross.

However, one should acknowledge that Paul was writing to the Gentiles here whose sins were not based upon any of the things mentioned above in verse 16, but are more clearly established in Paul’s teaching in Roman’s chapters 1-3 that all men had sin. Therefore, we must recognize that the Gentiles too had sin, not because they failed in their improper dietary habits or their uncircumcised flesh, for they too like the Jews had transgressed God’s moral laws and sinned and being obstinate had as did the Jews failed to circumcise their hearts, to expose themselves in broken nakedness and honesty before their Creator as transgressors of His righteousness.

The Jews and Gentiles alike had accrued a long record of all their sins that was cried out against them as debtors, which bore witnessed that they all had failed to love God and worship Him as such. These offenses and transgressions were recorded as evidence that they had not only failed to love God, but also defined their failures to love their neighbors as themselves. These two commandments are the foundation for the defining guidelines of righteous-love given us in the Ten Commandment; the moral law of God and witnessed to as well by His holy prophets, whereby all men have failed.

There is a distinction between the moral and ceremonial parts of God’s law. One shines light on God’s expectations of holiness for His created beings and the other prophetic of events to come. God never was appeased or  had pleasure in the sacrifice of animals, the shedding of their blood, nor could they ever remove sin our purge the conscience from sins, they merely prophesied of the coming of the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. This we can clearly see from the OT verses as well –

Micah 6:6 – Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?  7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?  8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

What was nailed to the cross was the “the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us,” that legal affidavit recording our failures to love God and our neighbor, defining our debt of sins against God Himself. I wish I still had original resource at hand, but years ago I ran across a historic tradition the Jews had in those days that was not unlike our present day “legal notice” section of the paper. It seems that if a person had a debt they could not pay that they were in danger of ending up in a debtor’s prison whereby they had to stay until the debt could be satisfied. (We know of this from Jesus’ own teachings in Matthew 18:23-35). However, if a man was destitute and had no means to pay, he could go to the town center and there was erected a community pole where he could take a piece of sheep skin and write a public “legal notice” of all the debts he had outstanding against him. There he would publicly acknowledge (confess) all his debts.

If he owed money to the butcher, he would openly note it, as well as that which was owed to the candle maker, carpenter or whoever. Anyone going by could stop and read his debts; they were public information now for he in desperation for mercy he had so confessed his poverty openly. If anyone was thereby moved with compassion they could take and write their name beside a particular debt and then the creditor could come to that person for payment. If anyone was able and compassionate enough, they could simply fold it up covering the list of debts leaving the debtor’s name exposed and sign his own name to it so all the creditors would know they could go to one person to receive full payment.  Look again at the verses –

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;  blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Nowhere else in scripture has the Law of God been called a “handwriting of ordinances.” Interesting too is that the Greek word translated “handwriting” is only used this one time by the Apostle Paul here who wrote much in other epistles of the law and grace. Yet nowhere else did he use this Greek word in reference to it or this also once used expression of “nailing it to His cross” when addressing the law. Yet here it is neatly tucked between forgiving us of all our sins and the defeating of our accusers and tempters. For the Greek word used here only once in scripture and translated “handwriting” also means “a manuscript; specially, a legal document or bond.” Now a bond is written evidence of debt recorded by a creditor with the terms of payment spelled out, such as the “wages of sin is death.”

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Such is what Jesus did, He took the record of all the sins of mankind and nailed it to the cross stating “Paid in Full.” Nevertheless, such forgiveness of debt can only only be applied to each sinner by their faith, which faith is evident by their confession of debt with a surrender to His Lordship at their realizing that by such payment of the blood of the Son of God they have been purchased from a debt that demanded their death and have become debtors unto Christ and are longer their own. These are the believers who answered the call to be bond-servants unto righteousness and joyfully heed the admonition to go and sin no more.

For that reason and more, the how and why the Spirit of Christ is given to now work in us, that I continually stress how the grace God’s given us in Christ Jesus is much more than just “unmerited favor.” Certainly, we cannot be what God requires or do the things he asks of us alone in our own strength; we need the grace of God, Christ in us to enable us. The truth and power of the Gospel is that we can do as Paul, Peter, James and John say we must, purify ourselves and make ourselves ready . . . because He will enable us to do so.

II Corinthians 6:17 – Wherefore come [you] out from among them, and be you separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

I Peter 1:22 – Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently.

James 4:8 – Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded.

1 John 3:3 – And every man that hath this hope in Him purifies himself, even as He is pure.

One who is truly “born again” by the grace of God will by their faith[fullness] be evidently shown to be such, alive unto God. Consider the profoundly simple and clear teaching of Christ of how a good tree brings forth good fruit and evil tree brings forth evil fruit, likewise we can know what manner of tree we are by our fruit. By such a scriptural witness we must also acknowledge not all confessors of Christ are true believers, for if one confesses Christ in word only but by their actions denies Him . . . are we to conclude to the contrary that profession outweighs fruit? To be saved is to be set free from sin, not merely forgiven, even though that is in fact a growth and refining process the Spirit of God works in repentant believers. But those who are obstinate and justify their continuance in sins are goats and not sheep, tares instead of wheat.

Paul also tells us in I Thessalonians, “Quench not the Spirit.” The word quenched doesn’t simply mean to grieve or offend; it means to extinguish (literally or figuratively): to cause to go out, quench. The same Greek word is used in these verses as well –

Matthew 12:20 – A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.

Matthew 25:8 – And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

Mark 9:44,46,48 – Where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched.

Ephesians 6:16 – Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

Hebrews 11:34 – Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

Certainly in all the above verses we would acknowledge an absolute extinguishing as the intended meaning of the word quench. That being understood, we can also see how scriptures tell two things about God’s creation of man’s spirit –

Proverbs 20:27 – The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.

Proverbs 24:20 – For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.

The reader would do well to consider the meaning of these verse in light of the Gospel of John concerning Jesus –

John 1:3 – All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.  4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  5  And the light shined in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.  6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.  8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.  9 That was the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world.

Our spirits were created for a unique union with the Spirit of God; just a candle has neither function nor life unless it is united to a flame. It is Jesus’ light which is the true life of man, which gives meaning and purposes to man’s being. But the candle/spirit of the wicked shall be extinguished, unacceptable for the presence of Christ Spirit.

I know the following  is an OT verse, but it still conveys the equity and righteousness of God who changes not-

Ezekiel 33:12 – Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turns from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sins. 13 When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it. 14 Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; 15 If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. 16 None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live. 17 Yet the children of thy people say, “The way of the Lord is not equal,” but as for them, their way is not equal. 18 When the righteous turns from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, he shall even die thereby.

However, no man can repent or turn from his sins but by the grace of God, meaning the granting of forgiveness upon the transgressor’ confession and his receiving empowerment from God to turn from and overcome his bondage of sins. But be not deceived, no sinner can repent just whenever they want to; they are enslaved by their sin. God must grant repentance if they are to be freed.

Acts 3:26 – Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

Acts 5:31 – Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

Acts 11:18 – When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

Such was working of God’s grace was lawfully accomplished through the work of the blood and cross of Jesus which works to cleanse us that we might receive His Spirit within us which enables us.

1 Timothy 1:12 – And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, Who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;  13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.  14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

Some will still say, “However, it is still my opinion, that even those of us who are more carnal in their walk, they will still receive some form of salvation,” and would confidently point to 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 for scriptural confirmation. –

1 Corinthians 3:13 – Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.  14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Once again I would encourage open and prayerful reconsideration of what Paul is indeed saying here. Paul addressed the Church of Corinth in I Corinthians 3 to deal with the carnal nature of certain believers in Corinth who were attempting to validate their relationship with Christ via their affiliation with certain teachers. Because of their carnality they were foolishly not walking according to the truth of the Gospel; for instead of identifying themselves with Christ and walking in obedience to the leading of His Spirit, they were identifying themselves with Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, and therefore were having “envying, and strife, and divisions” in the church.

In an attempt to correct their departure from the truth of walking with Christ, Paul clarifies that preachers and teachers are nothing more than “but ministers by whom you believed.” He stresses to them that it was God alone and His Spirit which gives life and increase. Paul then strongly warns that whoever would make himself a “teacher” needs to take heed what they teach, for God will hold them accountable –

1 Corinthians 3:8 – Now he [Paul] that plants and he [Apollos] that waters are one: and every man [teacher] shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.  9 For we [teachers] are laborers together with God: you [the believers] are God’s husbandry, you are God’s building.  10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder [teacher], I have laid the foundation, and another [teacher] builds thereon [in you believers’ lives]. But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon.

Discerning each reference and understanding who it is Paul is speaking about is crucial for rightly dividing the verse, otherwise it easily becomes a false the bases for the erroneous belief that “those of us who are more carnal in their walk, will still receive some form of salvation.” We cannot take verses out of their context and rightly understand them alone. This verse does not support such a position, but actually works against it. Paul is addressing how teachers have a responsibility before God not to be handling the Word of God deceitfully, which is which Paul states, “But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon” the foundation of Christ crucified and resurrected for our sins and justification.

1 Corinthians 3:15 – If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Many have taken the verse above and foolishly concluded it really doesn’t matter what we do as Christians once we accepted Christ, because we are saved grace.  That is because they think this verse is speaking of the same one man throughout.  People who teach such are teaching “wood, hay, stubble.” Even though the word “he” is mentioned twice in verse 15, it is not addressing only one person in its string of thought. One needs to follow the text all the through and keep Paul’s addressment of the teachers and those being taught by them separate and distinctly identifiable while reading through the passages –

1 Corinthians 3:11 – For other foundation can no man [teacher] lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  12 Now if any man [teacher] build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;  13 Every man’s [teacher’s] work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s [teacher’s] work of what sort it is.  14 If any man’s [teacher’s] work abide which he [teacher] hath built thereupon [in a believer’s life], he [teacher] shall receive a reward.  15 If any man’s [teacher’s] work shall be burned, he [the teacher] shall suffer loss: but he [the believer] himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

I know this might not be easy to receive if you are one who has always believed the other way, but I urge you to continue in prayer and consider Paul’s following words and ask why he would have stated them if what I am saying is not correct.

1Corinthians 3:16 – Know ye not that ye [believer] are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?  17 If any man [teacher of false things] defile the temple of God [with teachings of wood, hay and stubble], him [that teacher] shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple [believers] are.  18 Let no man [aspiring teacher] deceive himself. If any man among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.  19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He takes the wise in their own craftiness.  20 And again, The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.  21 Therefore let no man [teacher or student] glory in men [with whom they foolishly identify themselves with]. For all things [of Christ] are yours; 22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;  23 And you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.

So, if you have truly humbled yourself and repented of your sins, understand that Christ has blotted out the record of your offenses by nailing to His cross as a legal notice, “Paid in Full,” and now go and sin no more. Having been cleansed by His blood from the guilt of sins, He can indwell you and empower you to walk as He walked. Rejoice that God has given us a light for our path in His glorious word whereby we might align ourselves in perfect agreement with our God and Savior and be empowered to lovingly walk by/with/in His Spirit victoriously in these last days.

Live for the King.

An added end-note – I was thinking while holding my grandson about Psalm 119:29, “Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.” The Lord impressed upon me in a clear and simple way how without godly instructions we would have no hope but to go our own way and as mere brute beast only do what is right in our own eyes. That if I love my grandson I would teach him and live so as to be an example for him. I  saw for that moment so clearly that the most gracious thing God could have ever done was to give us His Logos; His holy Word, in letter, spirit and Flesh. For as Christ is grace and power of God,  He is still our God’s Plumb-line whereby we are to walk even as He walked. Flesh cannot do this, it must be brought under the subjection of the cross that Christ in us may work through us mightily.

Sometimes it seems life takes you in circles, different people but the same ole’ situations whereby you witness other believers hearts being harden against the truth because of their pride. That is why I am reposting this article again. Brothers and sisters, we must always remember our battles must always be fought in a spirit of humility if they are to truly be won, for that is the path of righteousness the Captain of our salvation showed us as he openly defeated His enemies by willingly enduring the cross. Therefore, let us too pick up our crosses and follow Him into victory.

Ephesians 4:1  I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.

James 4:5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

Re-posted article –

It has been several months that I felt the Lord has been speaking to me about faith, faithfulness and forgiveness. Throughout it all I have found myself wanting to write about what He has been showing me regarding having “faith as a grain of a mustard seed” where Jesus tells His disciples, “you might say unto this sycamine tree, ‘Be you plucked up by the root, and planted in the sea,’ and it should obey you.” I have sought various opportunities of late to so write concerning faith and a few other topic concerning spiritual things that I might leave my own children a record of what I feel the Lord has revealed to me pertaining to the promises and conditions of the Kingdom of God of which Jesus testified “every man presses into it.” However, I have felt restrained by His Spirit prior till now that it wasn’t time to write. Why, I am not really sure, the Lord knows though. Perhaps so will I when I am finished.

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But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
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It is my intention to write in my next post what God has been showing me about the above verse, but first I felt it was necessary to address the preceding verses in order to lay a proper foundation. I pray the Lord allows me to not only see the task through, but to walk accordingly to the message and to lose myself in Him.   But in the meantime, remember that tomorrow is no time for doing what needs to be done today. Get the oil for your lamps today. I pray the following stirs your hearts so as to cause you to wake up, get up, and run the race that is set before you . . . since the finish line is so near in sight.

  • Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance [ground/foundation] of things hoped for, [faith is] the evidence [demonstration] of things not seen.

Oh what a grand statement to start off the chapter of faith, declaring faith as the very ground work and foundation for a relationship with God. But note that the verse does not end there, but rather continues to reveal that faith is not just a thing, but a lively thing that continues with demonstrable evidence that such a foundation is real. Surely this is not unlike the Lord Jesus’ analogy of Him being the vine and we the branches that abide in Him,  continuing to bring forth much fruit to perfection.

How can it be shown that a branch is truly in the vine if not by evidence of continual growth? There must be something demonstrating that the very life of the vine continues to flow into the branches that are affixed to it. Here we must start if we are to see the wisdom of God’s gift of faith to men and the amazing grace available when they humble themselves to receive His instructive word and obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What other verse can be more fitting here than that promise given us in the Gospel according to John.

John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on His name.

It is truly as the song says, “How precious did that Grace appear, the hour I first believed.”

  • Hebrews 11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good report <martureo>.

This verse speaks of the greatest news to both sinner and saint, justification. What a glorious thing is this?  That even after your heart was pierced to the core by an undisputable revelation of countless crimes and transgressions recorded against you, and captured beneath a burden of accountability infinitely beyond your capacity to correct or to render any measurable degree of restitution, and yet… somehow a “good report” could possibly be uttered on your behalf? That even afterward being  thoroughly convicted of sin and forced to face the terror of inescapable judgment which forces your face downward to the ground with crushing condemnation,  completely silenced of any defense by overwhelming shame and despair . . . yet seemingly from nowhere comes a gracious offer lovingly presented to you whereby all your guilt and disgrace might not only be justified and forever settled, but actually replaced with joyous affirmations of approval and adoration from the very one against whom your crimes were committed. Words that instantly set to flight such a burden heart with ecstasy and eternal joy as you hear that you are not only forgiven, but frees you now to run to the place where you might also hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

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There was a time in my life as a believer where my walk was very far removed from the Lord. I had found myself more than entangled in several sins. I remembered one night being so overwhelmed and burdened to the point of utter despair, literally fearing that I could die in my sleep and would be forever lost. I cried out to what seemed to be heavens of brass, my prayer barely out of my lips only to be falling to the ground. All this after only a couple of years  after having been promoted through a local church fellowship to be a deacon, then elder-ship and then shortly before leaving the church I was made assistant pastor.

My last message I shared with the church before I left (to the surprise of many) was about Paul’s exhortation in Galatians to those who are spiritual to restore those who were overtaken by a fault. However, at the time I wasn’t preaching to the congregation, rather I was crying out against my fellow leadership. My emphasis wasn’t about restoring the one overtaken, but rather whether those who were leaders were “spiritual” enough to even discern when a brother was over taken. There I was discourage, oppressed by the adversary, walking with sin in my life and about to begin what was to be a dark journey that almost ended in my destruction . . . and they didn’t even know it.

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Capture

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross. (Colossians 2:13,14)

Those who have been “churched” for a while are likely to have heard this verse interpreted as the whole of God’s law being nailed to the cross as being now null and void, or no longer relevant in the life of a believer. That once we “accept” Jesus’ death as a payment for our sins, we have no further obligation than to just accept His wondrous grace by faith . . . and accept that we are always going to be messing up and still sinning all the days of our lives. But because of “grace,” no worries.  I fear that believers of such have been duped into swallowing a grace that cannot effectually save one from their sins while at the same time casting away God’s provisional lamp for their feet.

I ask the reader to be prayerfully open minded and to consider, what if what was nailed to the cross as “handwriting of ordinances that was against us” was not the ceremonial law of Judaism, but something else? That is not to say the ceremonial law did not fulfill its function and therefore has completed its course in God’s plan for humanity, for in Roman’s 7 Paul labors to persuade his Jewish brethren to acknowledge that they were now free from ceremonial rites because that which they pointed to had come, the Lamb of God which not only bore the sins of the world, but ended the sin-offerings as well. For all those were merely shadows of Christ body as an offering to come.

Certainly it was not the moral aspect of God’s law which was nailed to the cross and taken out of the way, for consider how the scriptures bare witness that Law was “perfect, converting the soul . . . making wise the simple . . . rejoicing the heart . . . pure and enlightening the eyes.”  Furthermore the scripture also records in Psalms the prayerful request that God would “grant me thy law graciously,” which seems to be an interesting twist to much that is preached today against “The Law,” that the law could actually be given in grace. (more…)

789 NE 5th St, Crystal River, Fl

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Don’t settle for weak faith!!

11-9-2012 Coffee House message taken from Romans 14 and Colossians 1

I hear it all the time, how God loves us all unconditionally. Over the years of having conducted services at a mandatory rehab for people whose crimes were drug related, ministered at homeless shelters and having countless conversations with “believers” who readily admit they are not walking with God as they should, I frequently run into those who enthusiastically confess to me how they know, absolutely know, that God loves them unconditionally and that He accepts them just as they are.

This has led me into many discussions with people about what it means to “believe” and what exactly this “grace” is that these people are boasting about since they know they are saved because of it.  Sadly, many have no real understanding of what grace really is, they simply repeat what they were once told, “It is unmerited favor.” It is as if people are convinced that when God looks at them He has on some special “Jesus only” colored glasses because they think God only sees Jesus when He looks at them and not themselves for how they truly are.

Grace is truly an amazing gift of God given to the believer, but there are four things about grace we can readily know from scripture –

1. Grace is sufficient

2. Grace can be frustrated

3. Grace while working similarly in all God’s children, still has a uniqueness to it purpose as it is given to each of us

4. Grace can be received in vain.

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Coffee House 9-18
Legality versus Legalism

Note: In this message I state “grace is not unmerited favor.” For clarification my intent was to express how is grace is not just unmerited favor, it is much much more than that. By grace are we saved, therefore we need to understand God’s grace if we are to fully utilize it and not frustrate it or exhaust its sufficiency before it completes the task God gives it to accomplish in our hearts. Therefore, grieve not the Spirit of Grace and lay hold of the power of the Gospel which makes dead men live and to turns sinners into saints.

Run the race He has set before you lawfully . . .

1Cor 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

Ga 5:7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?

Php 3:14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

2Ti 2:5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

2Ti 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Heb 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.