Saturday, November 26, 2016

You are already Holy, Hebrews 10:14 & Romans 7:6

Two verses that I believe are connected
I am using the HCSB here because I think it most closely clarifies the thoughts of the KJV in these two passages:
Hebrews 10:14 HCSB For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified.
Romans 7:6 HCSB But now we have been released from the law, since we have died to what held us, so that we may serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old letter of the law.

Of all the concepts in the gospel of Christ, the one that the evangelical church and orthodoxy have gotten the most wrong, is the concept of sanctification and specifically the operation and workings of sanctification in the life of the saint. This is the place where churches that emphasize holiness are so destructive to their members. Let me share what I believe most of them teach. I am going to list it in bullet form:

  • After the person is converted the Holy Spirit enables one to live the law
  • One must strive at all costs to study and remain holy by the standards provided
  • Over a long period of self discipline and study the saint will become more and more holy.
  • One who cannot do this should question the fact of their salvation
  • If you can't live holy, maybe you should examine to see if you are really saved.
The above bullet points could not be FURTHER from the truth and are in and of themselves very destructive and debilitating to the saints progress. I think that Hebrews 10:14 explains that one is already completely holy, and that it was accomplished on the cross with Christ and it is *already done.* Hebrews 10:14 states that by the one sacrifice of Christ, once for all, one is perfected and sanctified. Yet, in daily observation of a newly converted saint, one does to see this. Which is precisely where the concepts in Romans 7:6 come into play. Therefore, it is important to understand how to serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the letter. This in a nutshell is where orthodox evangelicalism, and orthodoxy in general have failed miserably over the years since the resurrection.

So then, what does it mean to serve God in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the letter of the law? Well, let's look at the obvious first. The Romans passages says NOT in the old way of the letter of the law so that right there eliminates the possibility of the saint being sanctified by law obedience. Even Calvin and Luther, two staunch grace preachers were schizophrenic in this regard. Calvin came out and said it in a way that has been quoted over the years. He said, " faith alone justifies, but faith that justifies is never alone." While this is true, he basically subscribed to the first bullet point without really examining the operation and catalyst of it.

The phrase, "serving in the new way of the spirit" needs some unwrapping and explanation. We have already seen that... somehow just magically walking in the law... is not possible, and Paul uses the entire chapter 7 in Romans to make that point. It's interesting that he ends it in this fashion. Romans 7:24-25 HCSB "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body? (25) I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh, to the law of sin." Let me try to unwrap this for your.  The answer is the gospel. Before you say "no duh" consider this. Sanctification is a process. It happens over time I know, the passage above from Hebrews says that it is already accomplished. It is. But still, we are left with the need to serve in the new way of the Spirit. This speaks of a process.

How does the gospel sanctify us practically you ask? By continually hearing it over and over. Yes, you are reading correctly. The gospel must be rehearsed over and over, and that is where the body of Christ becomes so important. But, in order for the gospel to be able to aid in the sanctification process, one cannot be subjected to the law. That is where the schizophrenia comes into play. It is not believe the gospel live the law. It is believe the gospel. Every time the saint hears the gospel, the Spirit uses that hearing to solidify our love for God. It is done based upon his grace. Fear is cast aside. Genuine love for God ensues. Now then, the one resting in grace, at peace with the Father as the result of Jesus finished work, can then allow the law to inform them about what pleases God and then and only then, can naturally allow their absolute faith in the gospel of grace, to begin to foster the desire to please God for real. Not from fear from love.

Here is the problem. When one accepts the bullet points above, the focus is placed on the law and pleasing God, and not on grace and what God accomplished with Jesus. You are better off to be void of hearing any messages if you are not hearing the gospel. However, until evangelical doctrine embraces this, until there are a multitude of local bodies that understand this, the church will remain in bondage and true holiness will never happen! True holiness can only come from an emphasis on the gospel and if that causes some to feel free to sin, then they must do that until the wages of sin weighs so hard on them that they will want to allow the gospel to right their ways. It saddens me deeply to see so much error, and to see so many in fear fraught bondage. Start preaching the *gospel only* today! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

My Righteous Servant Will Justify Many

Isaiah 53:11 NIV  After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

Do we need to measure up to God's standards, or does God accept us... as we are... based on the fact that he is the one that made us? The mission of Jesus, stated so well in Isaiah chapter 53, tells us that God provided a way for us to be justified, made right. God did not need Jesus to fulfill Isaiah 53. We did!

Yes, because of the fall, which gave us the ability to to know good from evil, we erroneously always judge ourselves evil. This is mainly because of the fact that we do not accept God's original declaration about us in Gen 1:31. We are born into the world with unbelief. We are born not sure of our relationship with God. We are born without proof that God exists. We are born unsure. We are born into mortality, and relatively soon find out that at some point we will die, and with that knowledge, we desperately want to justify ourselves. But, when you and I are alone, no one around, looking in the metaphorical mirror, we know that we fall short on so many levels, and cannot truly find justification within ourselves. This makes us want to survive as long as possible, and all of our selfishness streams from this. Genesis 1:31 is nice, but it cannot cleans our conscience. I would say that the most self-assured of us, down deep, feel inadequate and unworthy. It may not show. We may even over compensate. But at the lower level where reality collides with our conscious mind, WE ALL, sense we somehow fall short. I am simply identifying the problem to which Christ is the solution. The prophets have addressed this and Isaiah himself says that all of our righteousness are as filthy rags, (menses cloth's.)

Here in lies the need for imputed righteousness and justification from a source outside ourselves. I especially want to get to the "goody-two-shoes" of the world that are so confident that they are following God's plan and pleasing him. Can I tell on them for a minute... down deep inside.. they live in constant fear. They fear that they are not really pleasing God, and all of their religious machinations, are toward that end and completely in vain. They seem to fail to comprehend the words of the Apostle Paul saying that "by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified." The worst of this element are the preachers and teachers that keep other more ignorant saints in bondage to this phenomenon, and likewise keep them in the clutches of "their" hands to manipulate and use. I think this is why so few really preach the gospel. They fear that the gospel will actually set their victims free.

Let me show you just how the Righteous Servant will justify many. Hebrews 9:14 NIV  "How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!" Christ offered himself to God, before the foundation of the world, that is before creation to go through the pain of death and be resurrected to show us that we are eternal and eternally loved. As Paul wrote in Romans 5:1.... "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," You can never justify yourself by acts. You can only be justified by faith, and the faith your are justified by is not your faith but the faith of Christ. It was his faith that justified the many. Look at Isaiah 53:11 again. By his knowledge of God... He justified many. His knowledge of God was informed by absolute and perfect faith. He alone was the only one who could really use the knowledge of good and evil in a justifying way. His perfect obedience was His perfect faith.

Now then, when by the gospel, the Holy Spirit convinces us that we are justified... we then develop a true peace with God that in turn generates a genuine love for God, and from this love, all of our obedience flows. Not from fear. From love! You cannot keep the love generated by justification if you are continually being put in the position of trying to please God. Fear will ensue, and love will dissipate and bondage will return. Oh the reality is you are free, but if you do not know it... if someone is keeping you following regulations, you will NEVER reap the benefits of love and peace that the gospel was meant to give.

Hebrews 10:14 NIV  "For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." Read this carefully, you have been made perfect. You are being made holy. How are you being made holy? By believing the gospel; By the peace you have with God from believing that you are justified by Jesus Christ! Don't let the doctrines of men snooker you! You are being sanctified from the knowledge that you have been made perfect. God said it in Genesis 1:31, but the knowledge of good and evil in us made it so we did not believe it.... Isaiah 53 begins with "who has believed our report" BELIEVE THE REPORT!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Properly Understanding Hebrews 10:26-27

Hebrews 10:26-27 NIV  If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,  (27)  but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

What does this passage mean? We must look to the message of the writer of Hebrews to properly understand. We make a grave mistake when we simply look at the grammar to understand the interpretation and message of scripture. We must always look at historical and grammatical context. We must always get into the mind of the writer and the reader, because void of its intended audience’s expectation and understanding, a passage could literally mean anything based on the connotation of meaning in the current reader’s definition of the words. There is no place that this is more glaring than in Hebrews 10:26.  

I can assure you, based upon careful examination of historical and grammatical context it DOES NOT mean what so many have suggested. Some have believed, that deliberate sinning is the process of committing sins on purpose repeatedly. This could not be farther from the truth in this case. The author was not speaking in terms of individual sins. The writer of Hebrews has established a specific meaning for sin in Hebrews 3:7 through 4:11. I would strongly suggest that you read this passage in several versions. I would especially suggest using the NIV and the NLT as well as the KJV and any other version you have grown to trust.

The above passage was used by the writer of Hebrews to explain to his intended audience the concept of the Sabbath and that it is a picture, type, metaphor for what the writer calls the “Sabbath Rest.” To the writer of Hebrews, the Sabbath represented a rest provided by God. To the Old Covenant Jews, it was the promise/promised land, but to the New Covenant believer, it was the redemption brought by Jesus, who is the fulfilled Sabbath and Promised Land of rest. So then, the writer of Hebrews defines sin in a very narrow way for his purpose. The writer of Hebrews defines sin and makes it synonymous with UNBELIEF. You can find this specifically in Hebrews 3:12 & 16-19. I am going to posit the latter under this paragraph so that you can see it for yourself. I am quoting the NIV, but I suggest that you read it in the KJV or whatever version you trust for yourself.

Hebrews 3:12 & 16-19 NIV  See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God…..   (16)  Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt?  (17)  And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness?  (18)  And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed?  (19)  So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

Again, read the whole passage from 3:7 through 4:11 but for brevity, I have shown you the passage above. The writer in the above passage equates three terms, sin, disobedience, and unbelief. The bottom line is this. If you look at the historical context, the Hebrew Christians were in danger of rejecting Jesus and going back to Judaism as it was before the advent of the Messiah. They were being persecuted by unbelieving Jews. According to chapter 10, they had had their possessions taken from them, and were being persecuted on all sides, and it was from other Jews, their own countrymen who did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. It is in this context, that the writer of Hebrews states in Hebrews 10:26, that if one WILLFULLY UNBELIEVES there remains no sacrifice for unbelief because Jesus is the only one. This is why he tells them in Hebrews 10:35 to not throw away their confidence because it has a great reward. Hebrews 10:26 relates directly to the Sabbath Rest.

The Sabbath Rest is simply believing that Jesus paid it all. It is believing that one is made righteous by the sacrifice of Jesus. That is why I so pity those who have complicated faith in Christ; those who have tied salvation to law obedience. There is an entirely different dynamic at work in the New Covenant, and still, Sunday after Sunday, preachers who are ignorant to the real gospel, and to the real operation of the New Covenant and transformation continue to prattle on and on with a mixture of law and grace, of Old Covenant and New Covenant that stifles the life of the saint.

The two overriding messages of the scripture

While this blog is dedicated to my paradigm shift it is also about the way in which evangelical Christianity is off the mark in doctrine and...