You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2012.

 

The following is from the status of a Facebook friend:

“Many still live under the misunderstanding that they are constantly being convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit in order to stay “right” with God. They believe they must need this “conviction” or they might overlook some sin then be held in accountable and subject to possible judgment.

They are often found trying to comfort themselves and pleading their own cause based in a penance of daily sorrow calling it repentance for their failures, inadvertently engaging in the act of being their own “advocate” before God constantly pleading their own case by “working” to stay “positionally” correct through each act of confession.

This is nothing more than a kind of pseudo strategic role playing that displaces Jesus as the sacrifice for ALL sin for ALL men, and holds the Holy Spirit in the position of the constant prosecutor and accuser of the brethren rather than who He is as (Paraclete (Gr. παράκλητος): Encourager, Comforter and personal Advocate of His children…

The former belief is nothing more than a strategically, devilishly inspired version of biblical interpretation that keeps the “sons” bound in condemning behavior and practice, but is being overturned by the Holy Spirit Himself ~ people are “waking up” and once again, surveying the wondrous cross and the vicarious life and death of the Savior.

The Good News tells a different version and one all men need to
hear….”  ~ by Ralph Brier

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… A Great Multitude of Gentiles…..

The Jews were always supposed to be a light to the Gentiles. And they usually failed miserably and became a laughing stock instead. Jesus came as the light. Through Him, who came through the Jews, the Gentiles were included in the reconciliation, grafted it to the vine. Paul says this is the mystery that had not been revealed, that the two would be one, and there is now no difference between Jew and Greek.

But the Gentiles did not have a covenant with God. They did not have the law. Because of this, the approach to the Gentiles was vastly different from the the one taken by the apostles, and even Jesus, with the Jews. Law and transgression were not mentioned in regard to Gentiles. The Gentile believers, for instance, were not required to be circumcised, for that was a sign of the Abrahamic covenant.

Matt 12:20-21 A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench, till He sends forth justice to victory; And in His name Gentiles will trust.”

Also, spend time in the book of Acts. Here is where the apostle’s preaching to the Gentiles occurrs. The church today does not give nearly enough emphasis to this book which tells the history of the early church. It’s not just about Pentecost and speaking in tongues. It’s so much more.

They will trust in His name. We see in the new testament that when the Gentiles are approached with the gospel, they are given a brief sketch of who Jesus is and how he died and was raised again. Some always believed. They were not told they were sinners or had not kept God’s laws.

The apostolic letters, explaining how the new covenant replaced the old one, addressed the mixing of law with grace, and how the new covenant is better and replaced the old one. It was a hard concept for the Jewish believers to grasp, having been taught that righteousness came from keeping the law.

The early churches were mixed, with both Gentiles and Jews. They all needed to hear the teaching of grace-not-law, because the Gentiles, especially those who worshiped God with the Jews in the synagogues, before believing the gospel, also had heard the law.

The Gentiles outside the Jewish sphere had no such tradition. Just pagan gods. When they were told of the true God, that was all they needed to hear. The Apostles decided early on that the Gentiles did not need to be circumcised. They also said Gentiles shouldn’t eat things that were strangled or offered to idols. I’m not sure why, but it may have had something to do with not offending the Jews.

When we teach the laws of God, as believers, and don’t also teach that they are no longer in effect, we do ourselves no favors. We create a legalistic mindset that is like tossing a rotten apple into a barrel of good apples. Grace becomes of little benefit.

Paul called this mix falling from grace. It’s not losing salvation, but it is losing the benefits of grace and true liberty in our lives. I’m convinced this is why the apostles did not use the law when presenting the gospel to Gentiles. Look how hard it was for the Jewish believers to overcome that mentality. And besides, they knew the law was done away. Why would they bring it up? They wouldn’t.

So, to the Jews, the gospel freed them from the law that was death, as well as from Adam’s death. To the Gentiles, the gospel freed them from Adam’s death and trying to please idols. Either way, all gain the life of Jesus. Today, not even the Jews are under the law, although the Jews don’t accept that. But we who are not Jewish have absolutely no connection to the law.

If no preacher or Bible teacher ever mentioned the law again, we would be better off. This includes teaching the Ten Commandments. The law was temporary and we have in effect made it permanent. The law was a tutor to guide the Jews until Christ came. Now we are no longer taught by law, but by grace. Grace teaches to avoid ungodliness and to follow godliness.

Grace, the influence of God in our hearts. It’s all we need. Looking to the law hinders us from hearing the true voice of grace.

This is a bit longer than I like, and I included only one quote from scripture.

And Moses saw a bush that burned, but was not consumed….

 

God is described as a consuming fire, yet He spoke out of the bush, which was not consumed. But Moses was consumed – by God.

On the road to Emmaus, Jesus began walking with the disciples, and he explained the scriptures concerning him. Later, they remembered that their hearts had burned within them at his words.

Grace is the divine influence on the heart. It is a gift that each believer has been given. It is our fire.

We are no longer taught by the law of Moses. We may have been the law is our guide, but it death. That law was done away by the death of Jesus. Neither are we any longer are guided by the form of law that all people know, which is part of the human nature, and operates by deciding right and wrong, good and evil.

Grace is our teacher, and it teaches us godliness. Grace. Not rules. Not sermons. Not the next conference or prophetic word or worship school.  Our hearts are aflame with the grace of God.

When we live by grace, our lives will begin to look like the fruit of the spirit. You know, love, peace, joy, patience. And our lives will begin to look like God’s love, which is described in the ‘love’ chapter. Love is kind, not selfish, seeks no harm, always hopes and believes the best.

As we are consumed by the flame of grace in our hearts, we will be in relationship with God and with each other. Love will be our guide and our hallmark. This is true New Testament life, not some pie in the sky dream.

There are no rules engraved on stone or written in ink, and neither is there condemnation, nor damnation. It’s over. It’s finished. Only learning remains, falling down, getting back up, and walking with God, leaving the old behind. There will be a zest for life and freedom from bondage.

We are made to hear God and walk with Him. As He becomes more familiar than what we’ve known, there will be no end to the wonders we will find. The familiar and the structured dampen the flame, but the fresh air of liberty fans it.

Be free. Let grace consume you. Learn again to laugh and love and be who you are.

 

Hearing God. How do we do that?

Far too often, people hear from God, and then immediately have to ‘back it up with scripture’. However, citing chapter and verse is a straight jacket. Should what we hear from God harmonize with scripture? Yes. But not word for word (and even the original language words are not really the “original” words) or even thought for thought.

Quite frankly, I’ve seen more half-baked teachings that come from taking things out of scriptural context, than from someone teaching with a heart of grace.

Hearing from God usually comes as impressions in our minds. Sometimes a few hear a voice (and there is both scripture for that, and scientific evidence). However, grace is God’s influence on our hearts/minds. This is where He works.

Grace will never contradict the love of God, and will look like the fruit of the spirit. It will never cause us to harm, hurt, or abuse, anyone. If there can be a test, this it. Read the love chapter (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). Grace looks like that, when it is expressed in our lives.

Does He speak through scripture? Yes! But as we walk in grace, He will speak louder than what’s on a page. He is not bound to the page. The pages speak of Him and point to Christ. He is always speaking. He has never stopped.

In fact, we have the New Testament because God spoke through the apostles as they wrote. And they taught in the new churches out of the grace in their hearts. We don’t have a record of all they said. Sometimes I think that is a good thing, considering how we have not understood even what we do have.

We have some of the letters (not all of them!) that were written to address certain churches, and some problems there. The letters were not meant to be rules for all churches for all times. The apostles spoke out of grace, not law.

We speak out of grace for our time. We are well able to hear God through grace, and we do not need to find a verse or two to back it up, each and every time. If it’s God, grace will teach us. We will know, for the Holy Spirit will lead us into truth. Let’s not be afraid to speak what’s on our hearts and minds. God is in it.

There Is No Gay Debate

Why is there no gay debate? Because if we are walking in grace, we have no sin consciousness. Not our own, and not anyone else’s. Sin has been taken away by the Lamb of God. If it hasn’t, then Jesus failed. He did not fail.

It is by the law that sin is known. The law has been done away with. It is over. It is finished. We live by faith and grace. And, since the law was for the Jews, it does not concern us anyway. But when we try to live by it, we fall from grace, and have a veil over our eyes, keeping us from seeing truth.

So then why do some keep trying to put gay people under the law? When we use that mindset, we put ourselves under it too. That is beyond ridiculous. The only guide is grace, the divine influence on the heart. It will never lead us to hurt or abuse or manipulate. Grace produces the fruit of the spirit, and the chief thing is love.

Do you love someone? Then it does not matter if that person is the opposite sex or the same sex. Love is the measure. So, be free, whoever you are. Free to love, wholly and completely. There is no condemnation, and there is nothing you need to do to change yourself. You do not have to be deny yourself and be celibate. You are who you were born to be.

Gay debate? Nonsense. All those legalistic arguments are invalid under grace. There is no argument. Grace does not operate on arguments, and love needs no permission.

 

 

 

 

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