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Believing dogma over what the heart says is, well, unnatural. And I’ve been there. What kind of freak was I? It’s hard to remember, now that freedom and grace and love have won me.

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Some are saying that sex is only for marriage (sorry, single retirees, you have to give up your social security and marry your love, should be lucky enough to have one.) I know this is not a new stance, but the ones saying it are also teaching grace and freedom from law. Then they turn around and put people under law and Old Testament thinking, and New Testament rules that were never meant to be rules for all time. This should not be.

Not only that, but they see marriage as a sacrament. It is NOT! It is, and always has been, a contract. They are teaching morality by what is written in scripture. It’s my view that morality is heresy! It is looking to the law (both OT and new rules assumed in the NT) as your guide. Our guide is grace, God’s influence in our hearts, by the spirit, to know His ways (“godliness”).

Like the apostle Paul said, all things are “lawful” (and remember, the law is done away with) but not all things are profitable (or expedient). Grace is often very subjective. That is what scares people. But it is also the only way to live in freedom.

What does is mean to worship, not at a mountain/place, but in spirit and in truth? Does it mean we have to be “spirit filled” in order to be the worshippers the Father seeks? Who in their right mind worships their father anyway?

I think that worship in spirit and truth means to do what Jesus did. Live in love and grace, and share it with others. All that is required is to merely be ourselves, one with God and spirit, and by extension, one with all. When we sing of our joy over this, know He is singing it with us. Worship? Not so much. Oneness and joining in the divine dance.  That is how I see it.

Bettajdbka

Morality concerns right and wrong. We all think we must choose. Everyone has a conscience. It’s built into us, ever since Eden.

Morality implies that God is rewarding and punishing. He is not.

Believers know we are made right by Christ. Yet we also must choose. But when we choose the unwise or harmful thing, it is not held against us by God. What we do is continue to act in love. This is where grace leads us.

The capacity for love is in everyone, and grace influences everyone. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, remember. But none are being ‘held accountable’ because Jesus did indeed reconcile all things.

Accountability and offense were only connected to the law of Moses. It was given to the Jews, and not the Gentiles. All peoples went by what their consciences told them, a sort of natural law place in them by God. But their decisions were not held against any by God.

The power of love and grace in our lives is what makes us free from having to choose right or wrong. It is the very gospel. When we live knowing we are loved by God, we can then love others.

We are rescued from morality, to live by His life in us. Those who are not doing this have not believed the good news. They are still choosing right and wrong, and worried about reward and punishment for those choices.

Living by grace is denying nothing that Jesus did, as some charge! He did it all and it is finished. This is the good news.

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Jesus is our example. He didn’t crush a bent reed or put out a smoking wick. The only ones he ‘scourged’ were the money changers in the temple, and it’s not clear if He actually lashed any… only drove them out. I picture a cowboy with a whip or lariat whirling over His head in a threatening may. And the scourging thing may have been a figure of speech or a reference to an OT passage.

God is love, and love does not harm….. If we look at 2 Cor 13, we see that love always seeks the good, does not remember wrongs.

So, we learn by the grace in our hearts, which teaches us godliness (His ways). There are no written rules under grace, but that still small voice, that twinge in your conscience or even in your being, sort of in the pit of your stomach. And if you are on the right track, it’s that little glow, that feeling of pleasure, of liking.

God puts that there. And it will not disagree with His character, His love. If it does not line up with love and the fruit of the spirit, it is coming from your own selfish desires. It is not sin, it just the flesh being itself. When you see you may be operating from there, get back unto love.

In the OT a scourge was a rod… like the one Moses lifted up against the Red Sea. The enemies were drowned. The word used in the NT means to flog or whip or scourge. In Hebrews 12:6, where the word is used in combination with discipline, the word can be literal or figurative.

Hebrews is address to the Jewish believers for the purpose of teaching them what the New Covenant means. We should not be applying everything in it to our lives now, because we no real reference to that context. Gentiles and never had the law, and if we are from a Jewish background, the law was taken away at the cross.

In Psalm 23, the rod and staff are a comfort. Could it be that what we are really talking about is that God leads us (the shepherd doesn’t drive the sheep, but leads them) and God raises

Traditionally we have seen the statements by Jesus about new patches on old cloth, and putting new wine in old wineskins, as illustrating the necessity of the new birth.

Yes, if you try to put the new wine in the old man, he can’t hold it. And if you just try to patch yourself up with new ideas, it won’t work. But I think there is more to this.

In the parables, Jesus tended to be referencing the present day Jewish kingdom, and how it was going away. Of course, the people didnt understand that. It was unthinkable that Messiah would come and not take the Jewish kingdom back from the Romans. That was their hope.

Jesus came to bring the kingdom of God to earth, not save the Jewish one. Jesus came to bring the new covenant, not prop up the old one. Jesus came to fulfill the law, thereby doing away with it, but not to enable people to keep the law.

I submit that the old wine skin is the old covenant and the old fabric is the law. The new wine can’t be kept under the old covenant. And grace cannot be sewn onto the law. Or visa versa. It’s not important which is which.

If you are a believer and call yourself a Christian, but still try to live by the old covenant and the law, or patch the law into the freedom of grace, you are living in the rubble of the old system, and are not really living as a new creation.

When you see God as a judgmental god, you have missed the final revelation of Him in Jesus. He is good. All the time.

When you try to patch a wrathful, vengeful, demanding god onto that revelation and image that Jesus showed us, you are not living in the kingdom of God.

 

You know, what I was looking for, I had all along. I got it when I first met Jesus. Then I was in Oz for a while, on a journey, ever learning bunches of stuff. Then I finally saw that what I was looking for I had all along. I’ve come home to just Jesus.

I see Him clearer now, through the eyes of grace. I was on the yellow brick road for thirty-eight years. Some of it was scary, but most of it was very beautiful. I didn’t know until recently that I had the power to just see Him.

I had it all along. It’s called faith. It’s called love. It’s called knowing.

There’s no place like home!

 

The way of this free life of grace through Christ is summed up nicely in Galatians chapter five. If our lives look more like the fruit of the spirit and less like the selfish works of the flesh, we have understood all we need to know. God will continue His work in us to grow that good fruit and keep it pest free!

 

Galatians 5 ~ The Message Bible

The Life of Freedom 

Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.

I am emphatic about this. The moment any one of you submits to circumcision or any other rule-keeping system, at that same moment Christ’s hard-won gift of freedom is squandered. I repeat my warning: The person who accepts the ways of circumcision trades all the advantages of the free life in Christ for the obligations of the slave life of the law.

I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love.

You were running superbly! Who cut in on you, deflecting you from the true course of obedience? This detour doesn’t come from the One who called you into the race in the first place. And please don’t toss this off as insignificant. It only takes a minute amount of yeast, you know, to permeate an entire loaf of bread. 10 Deep down, the Master has given me confidence that you will not defect. But the one who is upsetting you, whoever he is, will bear the divine judgment.

11 As for the rumor that I continue to preach the ways of circumcision (as I did in those pre-Damascus Road days), that is absurd. Why would I still be persecuted, then? If I were preaching that old message, no one would be offended if I mentioned the Cross now and then–it would be so watered-down it wouldn’t matter one way or the other. 12 Why don’t these agitators, obsessive as they are about circumcision, go all the way and castrate themselves!

13 It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. 14 For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. 15 If you bite and ravage each other, watch out–in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?

16 My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. 17 For there is a root of [law born] self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. 18 Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?

19 It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; 20 trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; 21 the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.

22 But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard–things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, 23 not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. 24 Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good–crucified.

25 Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. 26 That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.

 

Do you see it? The contrasting of the works of the flesh, which comes from law-born living, and the grace-born fruit of the spirit?

 

Looking back, I think the pentecostal movement, right up through today, was so huge. And we don’t leave one revelation but we go on. God adds to it. I think the revelation of grace is what He has added to us.

One way to tell is how some grace teachers want to dump the moving of the Holy Spirit when He comes to us, in us, upon us.

Another way to tell is how the pentecostals tend to reject the grace teaching, and cling to their ‘balance’ of law and grace. This is indeed the purer gospel of peace and grace.

It’s a new day, truly. We are in it. There are growing pains. But it’s truly the most wonderful thing since I first met Jesus.

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.

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