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Stop listing your “sins”. Please. It is bondage.

It is having your eyes on yourself and not on Jesus. It is exchanging grace for a new set of laws. We only know sin by having laws and rules. Jesus ended the old set of laws, so why do we make new ones out of the things Jesus and the apostles said? They did not mean them as new laws. Really. You can’t mix law and grace, yet we think that is what they tell us to do. Instead, Jesus and the apostles are the very ones who bring us to knowledge of our freedom, and we take what they say and use it to rob us of our new life of faith and grace – our very freedom in Christ.

In other places I have discussed what the word translated as “sin” really means. That it means to miss the mark and fail to share in the prize. It’s comparable to what we today call human nature – as in to err is human and to forgive divine. But God went beyond that and did not merely forgive us. After all, we couldn’t really help being human. What God did in the person of Jesus Christ was to remove our sin. In addition, transgression only applies to those who disobey the law.

Recently I heard a respected pastor and theologian who warned that, since James said to count it all joy, we must do it. If we do not, we are complainers and grumblers, which is sinning just the same as if it were sexual immorality. He was referring to a passage Paul wrote in Romans, listing things God hates. I was so saddened to here him say this, because he was setting up new rules and saying that if we didn’t do the right thing, we would not be told, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” This is appalling, when you think about it. Here is a preacher, who would say he preached grace, but who is causing us to turn from grace if we heed what he is saying on this.

Not! No how, no way. Sorry. Don’t buy it. Guidelines are just that – things that guide us. They are not rules to obey in order to be justified, sanctified, or anything else. We are righteous and holy and sanctified by the one act of Jesus on the cross. We can’t then do anything to keep our salvation or become more holy. Nonsense. We are led by the Holy Spirit who indwells us. We have a book, the Bible, written by inspired men of God to show us God’s ways and acts.

The Bible is not a rule book for us. Christ made an end to the law.

The Holy Spirit who inspired that book is the true guide for us into all that God has for His sons and daughters, just as He was for the early church. Rightly understood, scripture and Spirit will not contradict.

This is what it means to work out our own salvation in fear and trembling. Not in fear of our loving Father, but in the face of people who may not understand what God is saying to us. It can be most intimidating to listen and obey His voice when the voices of the dissenters are roaring all about you.

There are two commandments only – to love God with all that we posses, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. And we can’t even do this. If you know anyone who says can, they are not being truthful!

We just rest in His finished work and in the grace He has given us. There is no condemnation for us in Christ. Stop putting yourself back under it.

Christians today are believing contradictions about the promise to Abraham. Far too many of us don’t understand that the promise to Abraham was or how it has been fulfilled in Jesus.

Ephesians 3:1 Because of this, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you, the nations, if, indeed, you heard of the stewardship of the grace of God given to me for you, (2)that by revelation He made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief, (3)by the reading of which you are able to realize my understanding in the mystery of Christ, (4)which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations, as now it was revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit, (5)for the nations to be joint-heirs, and a joint-body and joint-sharers of His promise in Christ through the gospel,

(6)of which I was made a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me, according to the working of His power. (7)This grace was given to me, I being less than the least of all the saints, to preach the gospel of the unsearchable riches of Christ among the nations, (8)and to bring to light all, what is the fellowship of the mystery having been hidden from eternity in God, the One creating all things through Jesus Christ,

(9)so that now to the rulers and to the authorities in the heavenlies might be made known through the assembly the manifold wisdom of God, (10)according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, (11)in whom we have boldness and access in confidence through His faith. (12)Therefore, I ask you not to faint at my troubles on your behalf, which is your glory. (13) JP Green’s

What is the promise?

Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, “FAITH WAS CREDITED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

(Romans 4:9)How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; (10)and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, (11)and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.

(12)For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. (13)For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; (14) for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation. (15)For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, (16)NASB
Consider this: (Galatians 3:26) For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (KJV)

It is not physical, ethnic, Israel who inherits the promise made to Abraham.

God has one people, not two. Not Israel and the church. The middle wall of partition, that separated Jew from Gentile, was removed by Jesus’ death and resurrection. The veil in the temple was symbolically torn in two so that all could approach God through Jesus. The veil only remains over the understanding of those who read and cling to the law of Moses.

Why do believers continue to elevate natural Israel as though they were special and separate? And in doing so, trample on the work of Jesus?

The words of Jesus:

Matthew 21:43 Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. (New International Version ©1984)

What part of that do we not see?

Or, the following:

“…ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people… Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God.” (I Peter 2:9-10)

Read the context.  The scripture is not a weapon but a message!  The law is done away, and so is the physical kingdom. Now, it becomes physical and/or visible only by virtue of the people who populate it.

The kingdom of God is not an earthly administration, but heavenly.

It is spiritually discerned, for it comes without observation. And it is diametrically opposed to the kingdoms of the world, which operate by exerting power of others. God’s kingdom operates by serving others through the power from on high – the Holy Spirit.

So then, what did Paul mean when he said “all Israel shall be saved”?

Romans 9:27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:

Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

Romans 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

  • (The Complete Jewish Bible) 11:26 – and that it is in this way that all Isra’el will be saved. As the Tanakh says, “Out of Tziyon will come the Redeemer; he will turn away ungodliness from Ya’akov
  • (God’s Word translation) 11:26 – In this way Israel as a whole will be saved, as Scripture says, “The Savior will come from Zion. He will remove godlessness from Jacob.]

From Strong’s:  Houto hoo’-to 1..in this manner, thus, so

(KJV (213) – after this manner, 3; even so, 9; likewise, 4; misc, 10; on this wise, 6; so, 164; thus, 17;)

The phrase, “and so” does not mean that “therefore” all Israel shall be saved, but rather “in like manner” to us shall they be saved.

By grace through faith. There is on other way to be saved. That is the basis of the gospel! How dare we change it?!

And now we have some saying that the temple has to be rebuilt, and Jesus will return to become the shekinah glory and there will be renewed rituals of animal sacrifices – as a reminder of his perfect sacrifice.

That is not only silly,  it denies the finished work of Christ.

This is where the doctrine of dispensationalism will take us if we follow it through in all its implications. We who are His have the witness of the spirit. We don’t need, nor could we stomach, animal sacrifices to remind us. And God takes no pleasure in them, nor has He required them (Psalm 40:6).

We need to wake up.

Neither Israel nor Jerusalem are any more special than any other nation or city. They are kingdoms of this world and will always be opposed to the kingdom of God.

Praying for the peace of Jerusalem is old covenant thinking. We are to be peacemakers to the world, carrying the peace of Christ. The church is the new Jeruslem. There is no longer Jew nor Greek.

Further, chastising Israel for wrong actions is not cursing Israel. Israel is judged and the kingdom is heavenly.

There is a largely unrecognized stumbling block between us and liberty in Christ – and who we are supposed to be in the kingdom. We can’t see it if we are looking through a veil.

2 Corinthians 3:12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech– 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord (KJV)

What is it that is not seen where the veil remains? Paul says that the law brings wrath and transgression. There is no liberty in transgression. But the promise brings life, when it can be grasped, when it can be seen without the veil.

Romans 4:13 It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15 because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.
16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring–not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.(NIV)

We know that the law was added after the promise to Abraham was given. Under the law the promise becomes unavailable, since the promise is received by faith; for the law is not by faith but by obedience.

We not be teaching believers the law! Then they have to come through all the gospel and teaching of Paul in order to unlearn what the law taught them. This should not be!

When we say it is grace and not law, we still can miss the idea of promise. Of course we don’t live by law in the new covenant – but we have to go beyond grace and see that we live in and by the promise of God. The law being taught obscures our vision of our inheritance.

The promise comes out of faith, so that it may be according to God’s unearned favor on us, and is received by us who are the true offspring of Abraham.

Romans 9:6 ……… For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

Galatians 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

What is the promise that we have not seen? Abraham was promised that he would be heir to the world. We also know that Abraham looked for a city whose builder and maker was God.

Hebrews 11:16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Hebrews 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

Hebrews 13:14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

It is not really about earthly land or an earthly city, and not earthly descendants. Paul is talking about spiritual things. This is why we must say that the law not only is opposed to grace, but the law also hides the true promise based on faith.

Israel trusted in the law and the religious system, but they looked for a redeemer. By the time of Christ, they began to look for an earthly redeemer and king, to overthrow their oppressors. Sadly, most Christians are doing the same thing! They forget what and who makes them free.

Galatians 4:21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

Galatians 4:31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

The promise to Abraham that he would inherit the world is for us, not after natural descendants, but after spiritual descendants. The seed is Christ, who is the last Adam. We who are His are the sons and daughters of God by faith, which makes justified in the manner of Abraham.

The promise is ours. Yes, it’s by faith and through grace/favor, but grace is the means and not the goal. The promise is the main thing.

The promise is liberating. The kingdom of God is not meat and drink (as in restrictions of laws) but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Paul talks about Christian liberty over and over again.

What is it about living in the promise, or promises, of God that liberates? Well, Abraham believed God. Pretty simple really. There was no law, as we think of law. Then it was about trust and belief and faith.

Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Consider the following carefully:

Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

(Jesus was talking about the coming of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the baptizer. The Holy Spirit came with signs and wonders and tongues. He still comes the same way if we look for Him. When we are not open to this today, we are not walking in all the fullness of the promise!)

Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Ephesians 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

Ephesians 3:6 That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

2Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

1John 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

Finally, there is the great “hall of fame” chapter in Hebrews, which lists those who died while looking for the promise and ends with this triumphant declaration:

Hebrews 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

This is the meaning of the promise made to Abraham. It is how the people of God possess the earth. It’s not by might or power, but by the Spirit, bringing salt and light upon the darkened world. We who are salt and light are also liberated from the law and free to walk in the Spirit in the world.

We are free to be who God calls us to be and to display his glory and presence in His creation. The more we increase, the more of heaven will be here on the earth. (Luke 11:20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you).

The promise is linked with the coming of the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit we regain part of what was lost in Eden. The first promise, way before Abraham, was given to Eve (Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.) We again have power and glory on our lives.

This is the promise given to us, by grace. We surely don’t even know the half of it, and what we do know is more than we can take in. We are growing and learning and moving with Him, carrying His presence into the world.

Why would we want to veil this privilege of relationship, and His life in us, with the law that brings death?

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