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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.

1 Cor. 1:20 (New Living Translation) For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in him. That is why we say “Amen” when we give glory to God through Christ.

Promises are good. Warnings are about something bad. Threats are always bad. God’s promises are good and are fulfilled in Christ. All the things He promised are given to us in Jesus. And it is finished – in the Amen.

God is good. He has good things for us and has good thoughts toward us. Judgment fell on the enemy at the cross. The enemy is the father of lies. He is the one who seeks to steal, kill, destroy, deceive, devour, and enslave. God gives good gifts, gives life, restores us, is truth, and brings us to freedom.

So, if anything you hear is negative, especially in terms of what Jesus said, or what the scriptures teach, or what God is doing/will do/has done, run. It’s not God, but is the enemy and the world system, confounding the truth.

Think of what is good and true and helpful, because that is from God. Learn God’s ways, not just His acts. His ways bring us into intimacy with Him. Through Jesus, we are no longer fearful, but come boldly and unafraid. Like a child who knows his father loves him and can’t wait to hug him. We can call Him Papa.

All the promises are fulfilled in Christ. Jesus is the demonstration of the Father, and is the embodiment of perfect theology. God said Jesus was His son, and to listen to him. Not the prophets that came before John, not to Moses, but to the Son. The one who did not come to judge the world. The one who came to take away the sins of the world. The one who never snuffed out a smoking wick or broke a bruised reed.

Whenever I hear a Christian start a sentence with, “Be careful” or “You/they can’t” or “You/they have to” ……. I immediately shut down and don’t hear the rest of what that person says. I can’t help it. The negative direction is not God.

The same thing happens after every “but”.  “You/they are forgiven, but….” “You/they are free, but…..” “You/they are saved, but…”  There are no “buts” to these statements.

I do believe that it’s true – “if you can’t say anything good to someone, say nothing at all.” Not that you have to remain silent when there is something terribly wrong. But it must be in love, and not followed with a “but” and then go on to patronize, ridicule, or demean the person, or clobber them with scripture. Love doesn’t lord itself over any.

Our ministry to the world is reconciliation. We are to cast a big net and draw in the world He died to save, not use it as a barrier to keep them out. If we have the love of Jesus, we have all that is necessary. Love is the thing, and never fails, for we are one in the bond of His love. We need to answer, “Yea, and Amen” or not at all.

“This much is certain, that we have no theological right to set any sort of limits to the loving-kindness of God which has appeared in Jesus Christ. Our theological duty is to see and understand it as being still greater than we had seen before.” Karl Barth

 

What does it mean to be dead to sin?

Romans 6 (NIV)

Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ

1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

 19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!

22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life inChrist Jesus our Lord.

Now, if we are dead to our “human failure to measure up”, we cannot then live as “human failures” (the word translated as sin means missing the mark, failure, frailty). Neither can we decide to do it on purpose. There is no guilt to being human, and in error. Unfortunately the old English word, sin, does have that meaning.

But, you say, sin is sin. If you do it on purposed, you have become a slave to it, like Paul says.

Well, Paul is not saying that. He is showing how we were before Jesus died to sin.

We who believe in Jesus are also dead to sin – because we died with Him. And as He is alive, we are alive in Him.

Now, we are free from sin. If we are dead to it, we have no relation to it, just as a dead man can neither run nor observe a stop sign.

So, what about when we do something we think is bad or wrong?

First of all, we do not know sin except by the law, and we are also dead to it.

In fact, the law was for the Jews, not the Gentiles. Most believers have never been Jewish. Those who are Jewish are still not under law, because Jesus did away with it, establishing a new covenant.

So, again, how do we know something is bad or wrong? What is the standard? There would seem to be none. We have conscience, but can’t the conscience be seared, and let us do things that are against it?

Grace teaches us godliness. It is our new “conscience”, for it is the influence of God on our hearts.

Now we have the tree of life, which is Jesus, and we have a new kind of guidance system. It does not operate from a list of rules, or what we just feel is good or bad.

Grace operates through the Holy Spirit, in which we walk. We, who are Christ’s, walk in the spirit. He is the new “default” setting. Did you know that the fruit of the spirit looks a lot like the many facets of grace?

Anytime we look at what someone does wrong, we are looking at law.

When we look at law, that is all we see, and it condemns us. It is a downward spiral. We cannot win. However, Jesus has won the battle, and He has lifted us up with Him out of condemnation. We are free!

Look with His eyes, which never condemn and always lift up. He looks at our hearts and works in our hearts. It’s intensely personal and subjectively varied. If you think someone is in “sin”, it is not for you to judge.

If you think you are in “sin” you have forgotten you were forgiven, once and for all time.

For the believer there is no such thing as living in “sin” or continuing in it. You can’t have it both ways. You are either dead to sin or you are not.

And you are dead to sin. You do walk in the spirit.

To repeat, if you judge someone as being in sin, you have just put yourself under the standard of sin and have lost the benefit of grace. Personally, I have tried to drop the word “sin” from my vocabulary, which proves to be difficult. It’s very ingrained into our minds and culture.

Operate out of grace. That is ministering life.

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