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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.

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Neither Do I Condemn You…

by Jeff Pate on Monday, August 15, 2011 at 7:00am

And Jesus said to her, Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more. —John 8:11

I want to set you free today in the one thing that has kept mankind from enjoying eternal life, union with God through Jesus, and all His benefits now, today, in this present world—and this is in the matter of condemnation.

My brothers and sisters, God is not in the business of condemning you or anyone. It is neither in His nature or His will to condemn anyone. The scripture says, “God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.” [1 John 1:5]

If there is no condemnation in Christ, then there is no condemnation in the Father because whatsoever is in the Father is in Christ, and whatsoever is in Christ is in the Father.

When Adam and Eve fell in the garden, did Father condemn them? No, they were condemned by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil—the law of sin and death. In fact, instead of condemning them, Father sacrificed an animal in a picture of the redemption of Jesus to cover their shame so they would not fear Him.

Please hear this: Father does not want you to fear Him. His desire is for you to see that in Christ you are eternally united with Him, and your relationship is not based on anything you have done, but upon what Jesus has done. You can look God directly in the face of Jesus Christ with all boldness and assurance of faith. There is no fear in love, and perfect love casts out fear.

“But what about when I sin?” you may ask.

When your conscience condemns you for something you’ve done or said, it is not God who is condemning. It is not the Spirit telling you how wrong you were. We have the assurance that God is never going to condemn us because God is greater than our conscience. The scripture says, “For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart and knows all things.” [1 John 3:19]

Let me tell you what Jesus has done to sin: Jesus was publicly crucified, condemned, and cursed in the view of the entire world to demonstrate that God is not going to condemn you because all condemnation from Adam’s transgression of eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the penalty of the law—the ministry of death and condemnation—fell upon Him. Father wants you to see Jesus crucified, condemned so that you will no longer be condemned.

Romans 8:3 says, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Because it was weak through the flesh, the law could not condemn sin, but only the sinner. God has never condemned anyone, but the law did condemn them, which is why Jesus was condemned as the sin bearer and therefore, God condemned sin in the body of His Son, that righteousness would be fulfilled in us.

There is no condemnation to you because of Jesus. Do not think that God is condemning you, for condemnation comes from the law of sin and death; and you have been set free from the law of sin and death. You can rest knowing that there is no condemnation to you, and that Jesus says to you, “Neither do I condemn you…”

 

http://www.bovministries.net/TruthAtFirstLight.html

 

Truth at First Light © Copyright Jeff Pate, 2011

“The knowledge of good and evil seems to be the aim of all ethical reflection. The first task of Christian ethics is to invalidate this knowledge”. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“…but of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil you shall not eat, for in the day that eat of it you shall die.” Genesis 2:16b

In the light of grace, we know the law is the ministration of death. Grace is from the very heart of God to our hearts. It is life. Grace teaches us His ways. We know after the spirit, not the flesh. Our flesh is crucified with Christ.

We are to judge no one after the flesh. When we do, we put ourselves under the same law (standard of right and wrong) we use to judge by. Paul says we fall from grace when we do that (grace becomes ineffective in our hearts).

The world does not operate in grace. The world needs laws and rules. Sometimes the laws need to be changed to line up with what is good and right, and to curb new wrong doing. Laws are civil, not spiritual. It’s best not to be confused on this. We can violate a law, but it is not sin in God’s eyes. Sin is finished.

We can of course offend a fellow human being. That is also called sin in the Bible, but the word does not mean an offense against God, or a transgression of the law. It merely means to err, to stray from the path, to miss the mark. It’s an archery term. There is no guilt in missing. You just don’t get a prize.

Sin itself is a bad word in translation, because it does imply guilt. But we are stuck with it. It’s the word the translators used.

Here is where a lot of grace people get tripped up – we’ve all heard this:

“Are you a rapist, murderer, fornicator, thief or a liar? Then you need the Old Testament Law to control you, to keep you in check”. (Based on 1 Tim 1:9-10).
They will say that if you have the Holy Spirit you walk in grace – you don’t need a system of rules. And this is true. But then they look at the works/acts of the flesh and start judging by the law, saying that anyone doing those things is sinning unless or until they stop doing whatever it is.

Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, 21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

In both passages, Paul is talking about the same thing – the works/acts of the flesh. The man who is not Christ’s and does not have the Holy Spirit is doing the works of the flesh. The works of the flesh are characterized by selfishness and doing harm. This is key. Love does not hurt and is not selfish.

Can we sometimes do hurtful things? Yes. We are human. But we are not doing works/acts of the flesh. We cannot. We are walking by the spirit. We don’t move back and forth between spirit and flesh depending on what we do. If we could, Jesus would have died in vain. We are in the kingdom and we are not doing the works/acts of the flesh. Try interchanging “works” and “fruit” as a way of seeing this.

Gal 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you won’t fulfill the lust [merely means desire – not something immoral] of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other, that you may not do the things that you desire. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

He then goes on to say this:

5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let’s also walk by the Spirit.

We know that Paul plainly states that those who are in Christ walk in the light and the spirit. So, one doesn’t suddenly leave Christ when he commits one of the acts listed as works/acts of the flesh. Why?

I propose that we confuse the works of the flesh with sin, meaning when we see someone doing fleshly things, we see them as sinning. But it is not so. Sin is known by the law – the very law that was meant for those who were not good or right – the law that was the guide to lead them (and specifically the Jews) to Christ.

Well, guess what? Christ came. He fulfilled the law. The law was done away. We only know sin by the law. No knowledge of law, no knowledge of sin. The scriptures say we are dead to the law and dead to sin. We have no knowledge or relation to either, like a dead man. The law has no authority over the dead.

In fact, the law was only for the Jews anyway. Without the law, every person since Adam has conscience, and either uses it to try and do the right things, or ignores it and acts selfishly.

What governs our behavior now, in Christ? The scripture says that grace teaches us godliness. Grace is best defined as the divine influence of God in our hearts. The aspects of grace look a lot like the fruit of the spirit that is produced in our lives. We don’t obey the law to be good. We are good (righteous) because of Christ. Our goodness is His goodness.

So, when we see someone who seems to be still doing the works/acts of the flesh, we have to stop and see that person as one who is free from the law and condemnation. There is none to accuse. Like Jesus, we cannot accuse or condemn. (But don’t confuse civil law with the law of Moses. If any violate a civil law, they will pay its penalty.)

Jesus did away with the Jewish law, took away the sins of the world, and that system is over. Jesus paid the penalty of the Jewish law. He also paid the penalty of death that came on all men through Adam. It is finished. Ungodliness is to continue in the law, and grace teaches us to leave the ungodliness of the law.

Our “morality” is produced by grace. Grace does not prompt any to hurt, or to act selfishly. Love does not act selfishly nor does it hurt. Love is the chief thing. It is fruit of the spirit, and will endure.

If we can’t walk in love, without condemnation (law brings condemnation), we are not operating in grace nor listening to the Holy Spirit. This is what Paul means when he says trying to finish by law means we have fallen from grace. The mindsets that conclude in sin are not coming from grace.

This is a follow up to the preceding post. They belong together, as they are commonly misunderstood together.


Galatians 5 (Amplified Version)

In [this] freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery [which you have once put off].

[Who is free? Those in Christ. ~ my note]

Notice, it is I, Paul, who tells you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no profit (advantage, avail) to you [for if you distrust Him, you can gain nothing from Him].

I once more protest and testify to every man who receives circumcision that he is under obligation and bound to practice the whole of the Law and its ordinances.

[The one who puts himself, or anyone else, under obligation of the law, likewise is bound to practice the whole Law and it’s ordinances. ~ my note]

If you seek to be justified and declared righteous and to be given a right standing with God through the Law, you are brought to nothing and so separated (severed) from Christ. You have fallen away from grace (from God’s gracious favor and unmerited blessing).

[Fallen from the benefits of grace, but still Christ’s. ~ my note]

For we, [not relying on the Law but] through the [Holy] Spirit’s [help], by faith anticipate and wait for the blessing and good for which our righteousness and right standing with God [our conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action, causes us] to hope.

For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love.

[In other words, we are in Christ.  ~ my note]

You were running the race nobly. Who has interfered in (hindered and stopped you from) your heeding and following the Truth?

This [evil] persuasion is not from Him Who called you [Who invited you to freedom in Christ].

A little leaven (a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers) leavens the whole lump [it perverts the whole conception of faith or misleads the whole church].

[Who was unsettling them? It was the Judaizers – law keepers. If any are putting law on others, they are law-keepers too ~ my note.]

[For my part] I have confidence [toward you] in the Lord that you will take no contrary view of the matter but will come to think with me. But he who is unsettling you, whoever he is, will have to bear the penalty.

But, brethren, if I still preach circumcision [as some accuse me of doing, as necessary to salvation], why am I still suffering persecution? In that case the cross has ceased to be a stumbling block and is made meaningless (done away).

I wish those who unsettle and confuse you would [go all the way and] cut themselves off!

For you, brethren, were [indeed] called to freedom; only [do not let your] freedom be an incentive to your flesh and an opportunity or excuse [for selfishness], but through love you should serve one another.

For the whole Law [concerning human relationships] is complied with in the one precept, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.

But if you bite and devour one another [in partisan strife], be careful that you [and your whole fellowship] are not consumed by one another.

But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).

[Walking by the Spirit applies to those who are in Christ. ~ my note]

For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do.

But if you are guided (led) by the [Holy] Spirit, you are not subject to the Law.

Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

[Who? Those who are not led by the Spirit but who are subject to Law.

Believers do fleshly things, but grace teaches them godly things. They are righteous and the “sins” that they commit are not imputed to them. ~ my note]

But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].

And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires.

If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.]

Let us not become vainglorious and self-conceited, competitive and challenging and provoking and irritating to one another, envying and being jealous of one another.

[Paul is talking about how the world lives, which is not in Christ and not free, but is in bondage to the flesh. He is not saying that members of the body of Christ could or are doing things that would or could keep them from the kingdom!

He is actually talking about selfishness versus serving one another.

We are dead to the law, and therefore to sin.

This passage cannot legitimately be used to put any under condemnation or say they are not saved. It’s not about actions proving anything. It’s about what the flesh selfishly does and how in Christ we are walking in the spirit and are not controlled by the flesh.

 Again, we believers do fleshly things, but they are not counted against us.

 Further, fleshy things are not bad. Things are neutral, and all are lawful. But all are not expedient.  Why? Some things we do are abusive and harmful to others and that is not profitable or expedient, nor is that godliness.

Love is not selfish!

~ my note]

If you think this is a lament about the state of the world and/or the church, you are right. But it is not what you may expect. I am not lamenting the usual opinion that winking at sin is the reason the world/church is in such bad shape. Far from it. When a believer thinks in this manner, he has forgotten the message of grace.

The believer in Jesus Christ has no relation to the law and therefore lives apart from sin. (Gal. 2:19 – For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. Rom. 7:6 – But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. Rom. 7:8b ….For without the law sin was dead.)

Shocked? Well, this is the message of grace. What then are we to do? Does what we do matter? How does it matter? And how do we know we have missed the way – can we actually miss the way? Sin means to miss the goal. But God guides us by the Holy Spirit. Is He weak that He can only guide us some of the time? No! He accomplishes His purposes in us. Even when we think we’ve blown it.

Paul writes about our relationship to “sin” in Romans this way:

Rom 6:2 – God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Rom 6:7 – For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Rom 6:11 – Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rom 6:13 – Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

We are to understand that we are living in Jesus, and no longer in unrighteousness.

That’s what it means to “reckon”. When we do something that is not compatible with Christ, we will know, for the Spirit will show us. As we learn to here His voice, we will know, for we have the mind of Christ. There is no condemnation but only grace. Our mistakes are not sins. They are just mistakes. We are sorry for them, but then we go on with Him. That is the true meaning of repentance.

The life in the spirit, that has no relation to the law is a wonderful, glorious life, lived in freedom and grace.

It can be a bit frightening for us, because we are so used to rules. We are not practiced in listening only to the Holy Spirit (who will not lead us against scripture, but often will lead us beyond our understanding of scripture into new understanding – and into things of the spirit which are not written down on pages, for God is still moving and speaking and doing new things. We are to try the spirits, and judge prophecies!)

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Note that grace teaches us how we should live. The work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts does this. The heart is where the laws of God are written. We don’t read them but instead we know them, for they are spiritually discerned. We walk in them by faith that He is indeed guiding our steps. Grace looks a lot like the fruit of the spirit.

When we stop thinking in terms of rules and laws, we find ourselves not judging others in terms of sins either. If we judge others by law it has some uncomfortable implications. But if we do not regard the law, we cannot put restrictions of law on anyone. If we do, we will have put ourselves under law again, and will have fallen from grace (will not have lost our salvation, but will have lost our freedom and life in the spirit).

(Galatians 5:1-4 – Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.)

We need to go beyond “loving the sinner but hating the sin”, which is a sham and very condescending anyhow. If you hate what someone does, they really won’t feel the love coming from you! When we stop thinking in terms of sins, we will have begun to see the pure love of Christ.

Jesus is the representation of God to us, and He loved those who came to Him, without condemnation. He was the end of the law, by which sin is known. It truly is finished!

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?

What if we had the idea of sin all wrong?

What if the word “sin” itself was a bad translation? These are some of the questions that I asked as I began to study my Bible, and some of the original Greek words, in regard to sin.  As God shed light on first one passage, and then another, and another, the things I found changed how I viewed my Christian life.

If you are willing to have your Christian walk forever changed, made simpler, made better, then this is for you.

Paul writes: (The Darby Translation) Phil. 3:14 – I pursue, [looking] towards [the] goal, for the prize of the calling on high of God in Christ Jesus. The culture in his day was influenced by Greece, and by Rome. Athletic contests were well understood. The winners received shared a prize, as we see today in professional sports – especially in horse racing.

The word translated as “sin” is a Greek word, hamartia (ham-ar-tee-a), which has quite a different meaning than we may think it does.

It means to miss the target and so to fail to share in the prize. It also means to stray from the path, to err, to have frailty, or have a tragic flaw.

The Hebrew has a comparable term that has been translated as “sin”. It is the verb chãtä‘, from which the noun chëta‘ is derived, and is easily researched.

The English word, “sin”, the root is Old English. It was syn(n); an offense or misdeed. It is akin to the German sunde, and the Latin sons which means “guilty”.

You may be asking why hamartia was translated by using the word “sin”. I have not found a translation, with a couple of little known exceptions, which does not use the word “sin” for hamartia. It seems that by the time the texts were translated out of the Greek, the idea of guilt, moral weakness, and disobedience to God, had influenced the thinking of the translators.

I began to cross out the word “sin” in one of my Bibles, and write in “error” or “missed” or “frailty” or “flaw”. I’ve come to prefer “deviate” or “deviation”. Try it for yourself.

Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (King James Version) [“come short of the glory of God” is literally : are wanting of the “doxa” (dignity/glory/honor/praise/worship) of the God] Compare to (The Bible in Basic English) – For all have done wrong and are far from the glory of God;

I like The Interlinear Scripture Analyzer (ISA Basic 2.1.3)  on my computer,which a free download. ISA uses “misses” for sins, “the missing” for sinner, and so on.

I have used any of the meanings listed earlier, depending on the context and what makes the most sense. When “the missing” is used, it follows the Greek where the article “the” also appears in the original text.

When you read it the correct way, you realize that we don’t deserve punishment for missing the mark. And God is not wrathful towards us.

He loves us and sent His Son to rescue us from our plight, for we could never hit the mark and partake in His glory in our flawed state. But Jesus did it. Any who believe in Him will not suffer the result of our “flaw”, which is death, but will have eternal life.

Our flawed nature is our human condition and it causes us to be unable to hit the mark.

Being is a state of hamartia also exacts a price, or wage. That price is death, first pronounced on humanity by God in Eden. But in Christ, who paid the price for us, we are made alive and become the inheritors of eternal life.

What a God! He wants us to share in the prize of His glory!

John says, in 1 John 3:4, that it is the same as being without law. [The Amplified Bible – Everyone who commits (practices) sin is guilty of lawlessness; for [that is what] sin is, lawlessness (the breaking, violating of God’s law by transgression or neglect–being unrestrained and unregulated by His commands and His will).]

If we all are flawed, we cannot keep the law. It is impossible.

James is saying that everyone who practices/lives as one who misses, is therefore guilty of breaking the law (which came to escort the Jews to Christ).

He is not saying the breaking the law makes anyone a sinner. He is saying the opposite.

Jesus kept the law and died as one who was innocent, thereby stopping all mouths, and ending the penalty of death. Hallelujah!

(Note: Continue with Part 2 and 3 – some questions will be answered.)

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