Friday, January 22, 2010

The Stumbling Block and the Foolishness - Paul White

1 Corinthians 1:23 we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness

It seems that the world has nothing but good things to say about the life and statements of Jesus. They frequently quote Him in everything from motivational books to Hollywood movies. His birth is celebrated the world over, and His life is viewed as a model of virtue and peace. The cross of Christ, however, has never enjoyed the universal appeal that is so often associated with the man, Christ Jesus. The finished work, where Jesus paid the sin debt for the world, is not only ignored, but is often in dispute as to whether or not it even happened.

Paul was unashamed to declare that he preached Christ as crucified. The emphasis placed on “crucified” shows us that there are more ways to preach Jesus. There is certainly nothing wrong with preaching of the birth, life or principles of Jesus, but it is His death that changed the world. His finished work brought peace between God and men, ending the war against sin that had waged for nearly four thousand years.

To the Jew, Paul called the cross a “stumbling block”; to the Gentile, “foolishness”. The Jews had received the Law at the hands of Moses and they felt that the keeping of that Law entitled them to eternal life. The Law demanded works, and the cross declared that the work was finished. Many Jews “stumbled” at the prospect of righteousness apart from works.

Gentiles then and now, often view that finished work as foolish. While the Jew stumbles at the cross because they feel righteous through the Law, the Gentile feels that they need no redeemer. Thus, the prospect of someone dying for them is a foolish one. I have actually had some say to me that they didn’t see the need for Jesus to die for them. Well, I’m glad He died for me!

Both Jew and Gentile share a common problem; both trust in their ability to save them. The Jew trusts the Law while the Gentile trusts their wisdom and intellect. Only when one comes to the saving knowledge of Christ do they see that the cross is the apex of power and wisdom. Paul says that, “the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25).

When you hear the cross of Christ preached, you are hearing the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18). It is power to us, because we have had its effects at work in our heart. We know what we used to be, but the death of Christ brought death to our old nature, and a new start to our lives. Thanks be to God for that Old Rugged Cross!

See His finished work today as having been done on your behalf. He was cursed so that you could be blessed. He was rejected so that you would always be accepted. He finished it all, so that you could have it all. God bless

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What Is Better About the Better Covenant

Offending Weaker Brothers - Steve McVey

I've often heard the teaching that, as Christians, we shouldn’t do anything that might offend somebody. While there is a biblical truth about being an offense that we need to understand, it's also the case that many Christians have been put into bondage by faulty teaching about the passage in the New Testament which speaks about not being a stumbling block for weaker brothers. Some have misrepresented that text and suggested that if anything that you might do could potentially be offensive to somebody else, then you ought not to do it. That’s not at all what the Bible teaches.

The Scripture does teach that we are to relate to each other on the basis of love. Loving people in the most effective way - that is the key. There is no disputing the fact that the Scripture says that if we have a weaker brother in our lives, who does not understand our freedom in Christ, then because of our love for that brother, we might be wise to be cautious and careful in our behaviors, so as not to offend the person. That’s an act of love, it’s an act of grace toward a weaker brother - someone who’s not strong in grace.

On the other hand, I think the verse has sometimes been taken to the extreme and taught to mean that if somebody is not going to like something that you do, then you ought not do it. The truth is, to approach the Scripture from that viewpoint, will cause you to go into bondage, because there will be many things in your life that somebody believes you shouldn’t do.

If you look across the body of Christ, there’s a diverse body of opinion about different things within the church world. Christians differ about music, movies, dress, alcohol, women in ministry, styles of worship . . . the list goes on and on. Some parts of the Body of Christ get into issues like where we should shop. For instance, I spoke to somebody the other day, who said that they believe that Christians ought not shop at WalMart, because this Christian believed they practice unfair labor practices. That is a conviction that they have. Well, does that mean that I should never shop at WalMart, for fear of offending that person?

The bottom line is this: To say that you shouldn’t do anything that might offend someone isn't true. You need to relate to every person in love, but recognize that Jesus Himself sometimes offended religious people by the things he chose to do. He healed on the Sabbath. In fact, He said and did many things they didn’t like. So we relate to people from a heart of love, but we don’t allow ourselves to be controlled by public opinion. The Holy Spirit will show us the balance between the two if we truly love people and ask Him to guide us.

Should We Really Do Everything Jesus Said? - Steve McVey

Is it really true that we should do everything Jesus said? I've provoked criticism of my teaching at times when I've said that the answer to that question is, "no." There is a new movement of those who call themselves “red letter Christians”, who say: “I’m living by the red letters in the New Testament.” That refers to the Bibles that have the words of Jesus written in red. “I’m doing what Jesus said.” Well, the truth is, we need to consider how to rightly divide the Word. Jesus Christ said a lot of things at times, when He was not speaking to us. Remember that Jesus lived under the Old Covenant. The New Covenant didn't become effective until His own death.

I’m not minimizing the words of Jesus, His words are very important. In fact, His words are so important that we need to properly understand them. And we do that by examining to whom He was speaking, when He was speaking, and what He was saying.

I'll say it again a second time for emphasis: Jesus ministered under the Old Covenant, so he said a lot of things to those people, that once He had died on the cross and been raised from the dead, what He told them became obsolete in terms of your life. "Now," you might say: “wait a minute, you've gone too far! You are saying we don’t have to do everything Jesus said!" Well, do you really believe you should do everything Jesus said?

What about in Matthew 5 when Jesus said that if you look upon a person with lust in your heart, you should pluck your eye out? Any man reading this, if you really believe you should do everything Jesus said, you better get busy and start digging at your sockets right now. What about when Jesus said, “if you are tempted to steal, chop your hand off”? What about when he told the rich young ruler, to sell everything that he had and give it to the poor?

Somebody will protest, "Don't be ridiculous! Of course, He didn't mean that we take that literally!" My response would be, "Okay, then we are in agreement that we aren't to do everything Jesus said. It's just a question now of what words he spoke apply to us and which don't."

Those who say you should do everything that Jesus said, conveniently pick and choose the things they want to do, while ignoring and explaining other things away. How about when Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, and said: “as I have done this to you, so you should do this to each other”. Have you washed other Christians’ feet? If we are going to stand doggedly and determinedly on a certain point like this, then let’s practice it, let’s be consistent about it.

For instance, take the words of Jesus in what is commonly known as "the Lord's prayer." He said to pray, saying "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." He goes on to say a few verses later that you won't be forgiven by God unless you forgive others. Now, wait a minute. Was He talking to you at that moment? He was not. That was spoken before the cross -- before the New Covenant began.

Every passage that deals with forgiveness after the cross teaches that we forgive others, but not so that we will get forgiveness. We forgive others because we have been forgiven and it's now our nature to forgive. For instance, Ephesians 4:32 say, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Under the Old Covenant, people forgave or else. Now, under the New Covenant, we forgive because we have been forgiven.

It is a misunderstanding to suggest that we should do everything that Jesus said. What we should do is understand what Jesus said and what it meant, when it was said, and take his words seriously enough to rightly divide the word of truth and to apply his words in the way they were intended to be applied. If you believe that you should do everything that Jesus said, you are going to experience a lot of self condemnation in your life because I know you are not going to do everything he said, like plucking out your eye, selling all you have and giving it to the poor, or washing other Christian’s feet. So let’s rightly divide the Word and take the words of Jesus seriously enough that we examine them in light of the New Covenant.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Does Teaching Grace Lead To a Careless Lifestyle? - Steve McVey

I do grow weary at times of having to answer the paranoid legalists who are so afraid that teaching pure and undiluted grace may lead people to think it's okay to sin. The strange thing is that when I ask them if that's what the teaching causes them to want to do, they always say it doesn't. It's not themselves they're worried about. It's these other pitiful, weak Christians who might misunderstand and be led astray. After all, they don't have the maturity to know how to handle the truth so we'd better keep our teaching about grace in balance with a generous serving of warnings about the dangers and evils of sinning.

It’s the old give-‘em-an-inch-and-they’ll-take-a-mile syndrome. Some are afraid that if you truly embrace the grace of God, it’s going to cause you to go out and live a lifestyle of sin. Their reasoning is that if you tell people that their sins are all forgiven and that they’re under God’s grace, they won’t be motivated to live a godly lifestyle. They question what will prevent them from going out and misbehaving. They completely underestimate the presence of the indwelling Christ who is in us! They miss the point that it is the Holy Spirit who has taken up residence in us. He can be trusted! He is quite capable of leading people into righteous behavior without all our warnings to them.

God’s grace is not a license to sin. Those who say that the teaching of pure grace sounds that way reveal their weak understanding of the topic. That's what they said about Paul too. In fact, that's what they say about anybody and everybody who has the gall to preach grace without watering it down with a little legalism.

God’s grace is the divine enablement by the life of Christ in us, for us to be all that we’ve been called to be and all that we’ve been called to do. Grace won’t cause you to go out and sin. To the contrary, it will empower, enable, and motivate you to live a godly lifestyle. Titus 2: 11–12 explains, “For the grace of God appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in this present age.”

The Bible says that the grace of God teaches us; it instructs us. What is the focus of that instruction? It instructs us in denying ungodliness, and it teaches us how to live sensibly, righteously and godly in this present age. Apparently, Paul wasn’t afraid that grace was going to cause people’s lives to run amuck. He saw grace as the antidote to ungodly behavior.

Let’s ground our thinking in what the Bible says and not in irrational fears that somebody might abuse grace if that is what they are taught. Rest assured – the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ will not become a motivator for sin. His grace will inspire, instruct and invigorate you to walk in a way that is fitting with who you are in Him! In an effort to calm the nerves of jittery legalists, I'm not going to water down the gospel by warning people about how they better avoid sinning. The gospel is good news and nothing but good news. When people get that, behavior will take care of itself.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Stop Trying To Stop Sinning - Steve McVey

Building on yesterday's blog topic about sin consciousness, let's consider this whole issue of how we are to relate to sins. The primary project for most Christians in the modern church is to reduce the number or frequency of sins in their lives. It's a sin management program that they devote themselves to with great zeal and sincere commitment.

It all sounds so good on the surface. That's the subtlety with legalism. It sounds right to the religious ear despite the fact that it contradicts and ignores what the Bible teaches. It sounds so right to some that to become Godly requires that we work hard to change our bad behaviors and replace them with good ones. To them it's all about diminishing the number of sins that we commit and increasing the number of good things that we do. But Godliness doesn’t come from that. Godliness is not the absence of sin.

The truth is this, the reason you’re godly is because the Spirit of God lives in you. The Holy Spirit came into you. Jesus said, "it’s necessary for me to go away, so that the Holy Spirit can come." And when the Holy Spirit came into you, He said: “I’ll never leave you, or forsake you.” Since the Holy Spirit came into your spirit, and your spirit is the core of your identity (and it is), then you are holy, you are Godly, because God’s Spirit is inside you. It doesn’t have to do with resisting sin, or giving into sin. The truth is, you’re just as Godly whether you sin, or don’t sin. Your identity isn't established by what you do. It is established by what He has done!

That fact scares the legalists, because it causes them to think “If you tell people that, they’ll go out and sin!” No,to the contrary. When we understand who we are, and we know that we’ve been made godly through Jesus Christ, that activates – becomes a catalyst within us - to not want to go out and live a sinful lifestyle. Religious rules are to sins what gasoline is to a fire. (See Romans 7:5) Jesus, on the other hand, is our Fire Extinguisher.

The idea that if we resist sin, we become more Godly, that is a lie that will cause you to take your eyes off of Jesus Christ, and put them on your temptation. Remember, the Scripture says if you set your mind on the things of the flesh you’ll reap the things of the flesh.

The truth is, we need to put our eyes on Jesus Christ, and know that we are already Godly in Him, and when we understand that, and we rest in Him and in the reality of our own righteousness in Him, then the godliness which is ours in Christ, will be reflected through our lifestyle and our actions, and the sins of our life will simply fall away because we’re so consumed and obsessed with Jesus. Stop trying to stop sinning and start trusting in the One who has dealt with your sins in totality! You're not evil. You are holy. Deal with it :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sin Consciousness - Steve McVey

There is an obsession with sin management in the modern church world that I think may fit under the category of "Idolatry." Some Christians talk and think more about sins than they do Jesus Christ Himself. "But don't we need to focus on overcoming our sins?" some may ask.

The Bible says that Jesus came to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. That's the reality we need to lock in on in life! Sin doesn't intimidate God. He defeated it, once and for all, on the cross. So why should we spend our time making sin the object of our attention? When He took all of our sin into Himself and said “it is finished”, that’s exactly what he meant. Now we are to focus on Jesus Christ, not ourselves, not our sins. We’re to focus on Jesus Christ. The Bible says if you set your mind on the things of the flesh, you will reap the things of the flesh. So if we want to walk in victory over sins, we don’t do that by focusing on the temptation to sin, we focus instead on Jesus.

In Colossians 3, Paul said “If you are risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

As we focus upon Jesus Christ, we will find that the attraction toward that temptation that has us in its grip, will become weaker and weaker. The Bible says that Jesus Christ is our strength. I think of the old song that I sang growing up as a teenager that said “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.”

The perfect sacrifice for sin has been given and the Bible says that because of that we can now live without sin-consciousness. (See Hebrews 10:1-2) Now we live with the consciousness of Christ, our Righteousness!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Super Abounding Grace!

Super Abounding Grace!

[Rom 5:20 Moreover the law entered that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more].

This verse is not referring to a particular sin because then we’d never be able to tell exactly which sin Paul was referring to. Instead it refers to the inherent tendency to sin that entered the human heart, which turned Adam into a sinner by nature. Adam then passed this inherent sinful nature on to all his offspring. Yes it was only a single act of disobedience, but it opened his heart to the entrance of the sinful condition.

Every human being has inherited this sinful nature from Adam, and the reason why the Law was given was to stimulate our sinful nature so that we became more aware of our sinful condition.

[Rom 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come]. Because of Adam’s sin, the whole world became guilty. If anybody were to end up in hell, it would not have been because of their own sins but because they inherited Adam’s sinful nature at birth. In the same way, nobody will go to heaven because of their own goodness or level of obedience, but only because of their faith in Jesus’ perfect obedience.

[Rom 5:15 But the free gift is not like the offence. For if by the one man’s offence many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many]. Because of Jesus’ obedience, those who believe in Him are justified by faith.

Now when God gave the Law it was meant to come in beside sinners to show how huge our lack of holiness really was. It wasn’t given to turn mankind into sinners, because sin existed even before the law was given (see Rom 5:14 again). The purpose of the Law was to show us the depth of our depravity. God didn’t introduce the Law because He wanted to make us sin more, but He wanted us to be more conscious of our sins and the fact that we had an utterly sinful nature. Notice in Rom 5:15 that Paul does not say “offences” (plural) but “offence” (singular), which is a reference to the sin (sinful state) of Adam. A few of the heroes of the faith made the following comments:

Charles Spurgeon: “A stick is crooked, but you do not notice how crooked it is until you place a straight rule by the side of it. You have a handkerchief, and it seems to be quite white. You could hardly wish it to be whiter. But you lay it down on the newly fallen snow, and you wonder how you could ever have thought it to be white at all. So the pure and holy law of God, when our eyes are opened to see its purity, shows up our sin in its true blackness, and in that way it makes sin to abound. But this is for our good, for that sight of our sin awakens us to a sense of our true condition, leads us to repentance, drives us by faith to the precious blood of Jesus, and no longer permits us to rest in our self-righteousness. It was the practical result of the giving of the law that men became greater sinners than they were before, and it was the design of the law that they should see themselves to be greater sinners than before. The law is the looking-glass in which we see our spots, but it is not the basin in which we wash them away. The law has a provoking power, for such is the perversity of our (old) nature that, no sooner do we hear the command, “You shall not do so-and-so,” than at once we want to do it”.

Dave Guzik: “The flaws in a precious stone abound when contrasted with a perfect stone, or when put against a contrasting backdrop. God’s perfect law exposes our flaws, and makes our sin abound. There is another way that the law makes sin abound. Because of the sinfulness of my heart, when I see a line drawn I want to cross over it. In this sense, the law makes sin abound because it draws many clear lines between right and wrong that my sinful heart wants to break. Therefore, the law makes me sin more – but not because there is anything wrong in the law, only because there is something deeply wrong in the human condition”.

John Piper: “I take it to mean that one crucial function of the law is to turn our original sin into actual transgressions of specific commandments. First, we are guilty in Adam and sinful by nature, and then the Law confronts us with the specific will of God: “Don’t steal. Don’t lie. Don’t covet.” And the effect is that it turns sinful nature into specific sinful acts of transgression. One writer said it well: the Law makes little Adams out of us all”. (”The law has the function of turning those it addresses into ‘their own Adam.”)

So we see the Law was given so that sin might abound. Our key verse however says that where sin abounded, Grace abounded much more! [Rom 5:20 Moreover the law entered that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more]. Let’s look at some quotes on Grace that abounds:

Wayne Barber: “Now there are two words used in that verse for abound or increase. The first one is pleonazo (used with “sin”), which means “is more than enough” or “to have enough.” The other word (used with Grace), perisseuo, is actually a synonym, but when they are used together, they are saying different things. Pleonazo means to abound, but perisseuo means to go even beyond that (and) takes it to a greater extreme. Not only that, but Paul put a preposition, huper, in front of the word perisseuo (huperperisseuo). So what he is saying is that not only does Grace extend beyond where sin increased, but Grace goes WAY beyond”.

In his book, “What’s So Amazing About Grace,” Phillip Yancey points out that part of our problem is in the nature of Grace itself. Grace is scandalous. It’s hard to accept, hard to believe, and hard to receive. Grace shocks us in what it offers. It is truly not of this world. It frightens us with what it does for sinners. Grace teaches us that God does for others what we would never do for them. We would save the “not-so-bad”. God starts with prostitutes and then works downward from there. Grace is a gift that costs everything to the giver and nothing to the receiver. It is given to those who don’t deserve it, barely recognize it, and hardly appreciate it. That’s why God alone gets the glory in your salvation. Jesus did all the work when he died on the cross.

Law added transgressions, showing even more clearly the super-abounding (huperperisseuo) Grace of God. Grace did not set aside the Law, but rather completely satisfied it. As deep as sin goes, God’s Grace goes deeper. As wide as sin is, God’s Grace is wider. When sin abounded, Grace super-abounded. God’s Grace is greater than all our sin.

Barnhouse also comments on Paul’s use of “abounds” and “super-abounds”: “In the Greek, these are two different words. “Where sin overflowed, grace flooded in.” Where sin measurably increased, grace immeasurably increased. Where sin abounded – pleonazo – grace did much more abound – huper-perisseuo. The prefix huper is like the Latin “super”. The movie ads have taught us what “super” does to a word. Instead of being colossal, something is super-colossal. So, where sin could be measured by multiplying the number of commands of the law by the number of human beings in the world, Grace could never be measured because it would require the multiplication of the number of acts of God’s Grace by the infinity of His being. Our text might well read: “Where sin was finite, Grace was infinite.”

In Grace
Andre van der Merwe

Joel Brueseke - NEW Covenant! (Get out of the shadows)

Heb 10:9 "He takes away the first that He may establish the second."

About this New Covenant: This is not "Old Covenant, Part 2." This is not a continuation of the Old Covenant. This is not a mixture of two Covenants. This is not a "new" way to do the same old thing. This is not an amendment to the Old Covenant. This is not "picking up where the old left off." This is a completely different covenant. This is "a better covenant, which was established on better promises." (Heb 8:6).

The old system of a priesthood of mortal men (see Heb 7:23-25 "prevented by death from continuing"), and everything that went along with it, served a purpose under that old covenant, but it is now done away with. The old tithing system that was set in place to provide for the Levites, widows, orphans and strangers, served its purpose under that old covenant, but it is now done away with. All of the sacrifices, which had a purpose under that old covenant, have now been done away with.

The curse of the law has been done away with. In fact, the Law has been "wiped out," "taken out of the way," "nailed to the cross." (Col 2:14). Did Paul really say that? YES HE DID! Trying to be obedient to God's Law has been done away with. Man's relationship with the law altogether has been done away with! One has to be dead to the law in order to be married to a completely different spouse, Jesus Christ. (Rom 7:1-6, Gal 2:19-20). They are not the same, and you cannot be married/joined to both.

God's law was "a shadow of of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things" (Heb 10:1). It, along with the sacrifices, could never make anything perfect and could never take away sins, but really only brought about a reminder of sins! (Heb 10:2-4).


JESUS HIMSELF - the PERSON - is the reality, is the substance (Col 2:17). The reality/substance is not a system of rules and laws and sacrifices, but is a Person. Jesus' one-time, once-for-all sacrifice did away with ALL of that! With one sacrifice, the system of laws and ordinances was done away with, as was the entire priestly system and the entire OLD COVENANT. "What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh..." (Rom 8:3). Jesus Himself became a curse for us (Gal 3:13) and became sin for us (2 Cor 5:21). With one sacrifice, Jesus TOOK AWAY the sin of the world! "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). "But now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Heb 9:26).

If we want to live in the fullness of the reality of Jesus Christ, we need to get out of the shadows and instead focus on the substance - the Person of Jesus Christ who IS our life and who is our light. He Himself IS the reality of the abundant life.

Joel Brueseke - Ten specific examples of what was against us and contrary to us...

If the last post didn't step on any toes, I'm sure this one will. But let's at least look at what the Scriptures say. "Let us reason together." :)

First, a summary:
Scripture tells us that something was against us and contrary to us. It tells us that we were in bondage to something. It tells us that in Christ, this has now been taken out of the way, nailed to the cross and made obsolete. Isn't it quite astounding for God to go to such great lengths to take something out of the way, nail it to the cross and make it obsolete! So what is it that was against us, and contrary to us, and put us into bondage... and God then took out of the way, nailed to the cross and made obsolete?

Gal 4:24 "For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage..."

Col 2:13-14 "And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross."

Heb 8:13 In that He says, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete. Now what is obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away."
What came from Mount Sinai? God's LAW. What is the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us? God's LAW. What has been taken out of the way, nailed to the cross? God's LAW. What has been made obsolete? The Old Covenant, which was based upon man keeping God's LAW.

Brace yourself, I'm here to lay it down.


The following was against us, contrary to us, a source of bondage to us, and is now taken out of our way, nailed to the cross and made obsolete:

"You shall have no other gods before Me."
The following was against us, contrary to us, a source of bondage to us, and is now taken out of our way, nailed to the cross and made obsolete:

"You shall not make for yourself a carved image — any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments."
The following was against us, contrary to us, a source of bondage to us, and is now taken out of our way, nailed to the cross and made obsolete:

"You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain."
The following was against us, contrary to us, a source of bondage to us, and is now taken out of our way, nailed to the cross and made obsolete:

"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it."
The following was against us, contrary to us, a source of bondage to us, and is now taken out of our way, nailed to the cross and made obsolete:

"Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you."
The following was against us, contrary to us, a source of bondage to us, and is now taken out of our way, nailed to the cross and made obsolete:

"You shall not murder."
The following was against us, contrary to us, a source of bondage to us, and is now taken out of our way, nailed to the cross and made obsolete:

"You shall not commit adultery."
The following was against us, contrary to us, a source of bondage to us, and is now taken out of our way, nailed to the cross and made obsolete:

"You shall not steal."
The following was against us, contrary to us, a source of bondage to us, and is now taken out of our way, nailed to the cross and made obsolete:

"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."
The following was against us, contrary to us, a source of bondage to us, and is now taken out of our way, nailed to the cross and made obsolete:

"You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's."
(All of the above: "The Ten Commandments," taken from Exodus 20:3-17)

We now have something so much better than all of this! All of the above is good and holy, but it was weak in that it could never do a thing to make us good and holy. All it did was to make us guilty before God. It was against us, contrary to us, and put us into nothing but bondage. But what the Law could not do, God did by sending His Son. We have now died to the above so that we could be joined with Christ, whose life in us will always lead us into what is good, holy and righteous. We are now free to serve righteousness, which is something we could never, ever find in the Law!

Joel Brueseke - What was against us and contrary to us has been wiped out and made obsolete!

This post, and the post to follow, are not posts that are meant to turn your head a little. They're not simply "double-take" posts. These are absolute all-out in-your-face posts! I might even make some enemies with these posts, and I'm willing to take that risk. But my ultimate hope is that the words in these posts will be used to set people free.

For too long the Church of Jesus Christ has been involved in an atrocious, yet all too widely accepted, form of Christianity that continues to include within it various forms of the very thing that Christ came to set us free from! Actually, this has been going on for 2,000 years. Certain early Christians, such as the people in the churches of Galatia, were so involved in this atrocity that the Apostle Paul, in a strong rebuke, called them foolish and he asked them who had bewitched them that they would turn back to such things!

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free," Paul said (Galatians 5:1), but yet there are still many Christians living today who are in bondage to the very thing that Christ set us free from! It should not be this way! So what is this terrible, heinous form of slavery that Christians are involved in, through the preaching and teaching of it, and through the daily yoking of themselves together with it?

The LAW. God's Law. God's holy Law. I'll be specific: The Ten Commandments (and any and all other of God's 600+ laws and ordinances in the Bible). This is what Christians, to their detriment, are misguidedly teaching and preaching as the way of the Christian life. The paradox here is that God's good, holy law... is not good for us! It was against us and contrary to us (Colossians 2:14). It was bondage to us (Galatians 4:24). See, God's good and holy Law has this itsy bitsy little shortcoming when it comes to sinful man: It can make no one perfect or holy or good! (See Hebrews 7:18-19 and Romans 8:3). So what God did through Christ was not to enable us to live according to the standards of His Law, but rather He took the Law out of the way by nailing it to the cross with Christ! (See again Colossians 2:14). And so with the Law nailed to the cross and our sin taken away, we were freed from our bondage and made close to God by His grace. We now live, not by God's Law, but by the Life of Christ that has come to indwell us.

So why the obsession with the Law in Christianity??? Do we not get that it was against us and that we had to die to it in order to belong to Christ? (Galatians 2:19-20, Romans 7:4). Jesus
said He didn't come to destroy the Law. He came to fullfil it. And guess what? At the cross, all was fulfilled!!! When Jesus died, God's Last Will and Testament (the New Covenant) was executed. When all was fullfilled, and the New Covenant came to be, God made the first covenant "obsolete" (Hebrews 8:13)! We can't miss the fact that Jesus, "after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God" (Hebrews 10:12). Jesus sat down, signifying that the work was complete and sufficient and finished forever!!! What the Law could never have done, Christ did once and for all.

Thank GOD that what was against us and contrary to us (God's Law) has been wiped out and nailed to the cross and made obsolete! Because of this, we are truly FREE!

Joseph Prince - The Gospel Saves In Every Situation

Romans 1:16
16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…

Each time you hear the gospel of Christ, you are hearing God’s good news for you. And the Bible tells us that the gospel of Christ — the good news that God wants all men to hear — is the very power of God for your salvation, not just from hell, but also from illnesses, financial lack, harm, a failing marriage — every aspect of your life that needs saving!

You may say, “Pastor Prince, I’ve heard the gospel of Christ, but it seems like I am one of those whom the power of God has missed.” My friend, when you hear the gospel of Christ, do you really believe it? You cannot just understand it in your mind. You must know and believe the good news in your heart, and then you will see that it is the power of God for your salvation.

But what is the good news that God wants you to know in your heart, which will release the power and salvation of God into your situation?

“For in it [the good news] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith…” (Romans 1:17) The good news is that you are the righteousness of God in Christ, which you receive from faith to faith.

This means that this righteousness comes because you have faith in His blood, not your good behavior, to make you righteous. It is from faith to faith, not faith to works, or works to works.

The good news is not preached to show you what is wrong with you. It is preached to show you what is right with you because of Jesus’ work at Calvary, in spite of what is wrong with you!

There is nothing left for you to do to earn God’s blessings for your life. You only need to hear and believe the all-encompassing saving power of the gospel of Christ to heal you of diseases, preserve you from danger, prosper your finances and bring well-being to your family.

The world may say that the good news is too good to be true. But for those of us who are the righteousness of God in Christ, the good news is so good because it is indeed true!

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Joseph Prince - You Have First-Class Righteousness

2 Corinthians 5:21
21For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Some Christians believe that they have to work at becoming more righteous. And they kick themselves when they do wrong. They don’t realize that by doing these things, they are not seeking God’s righteousness, but are trying to establish their own righteousness by their law-keeping and right conduct.

Righteousness is not about right conduct. It is a gift from God to us through Jesus. And since it is a gift, we cannot earn it by our law-keeping and right conduct. We can only receive it!

How do we receive this gift? We receive it through the cross. God made Jesus “who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”. So today, we are the righteousness of God in Christ. We are as righteous as Jesus is!

But some of us think that in the body of Christ, there are different classes of righteousness, like the seating classes in an airplane. They think that some of us have economy-class righteousness, others have business-class righteousness and a select few have first-class righteousness.

That is nonsense! When God gave us Jesus, He became our righteousness. So we have His righteousness. This means that we are 100 per cent righteous in God’s eyes! We cannot but have first-class righteousness!

You might say, “Pastor Prince, I don’t understand. How can I be righteous when I have done wrong?” Think about this: Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin for us. Jesus knew no sin, did no sin and in Him was no sin. But at the cross, He received our sin and became sin for us.

Likewise, we, who were sinners, knew no righteousness, did no righteousness and in us was no righteousness. But at the cross, we received His righteousness and became the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

At the cross, the divine exchange took place. Jesus took our place so that we might take His place. He did not deserve to be made sin, but He was made sin in our place. We did not deserve to be made righteous, but we were made righteous because we received His righteousness. What good news! What amazing grace!

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Right Doing or Right Being - Joseph Prince

What do you think righteousness is about? Something you do or something you are? Right doing or right being?

The Bible tells us that after Jesus’ sacrifice at the cross, God imputes righteousness not to those who strive to obey the law (Galatians 2:16), but to anyone who believes in His Son. Because Christ took our sins and gave us His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21), the moment we believe in Him, God treats us as righteous apart from our works or obedience. (Romans 4:5–8) This is new covenant righteousness — a righteousness that comes by faith and not works.

You are not righteous because of how morally upright you are. You are not righteous because you exercise self-control. You are not righteous because you read 10 chapters of the Bible daily. You are not righteous because you feel righteous. But you are the very righteousness of God in Christ solely because the sacrifice of Jesus made you so. When you believe this, your faith is accounted for righteousness.

And this is what God wants you to use your faith for. If you are righteous by your deeds, you don’t need faith. You also don’t need faith to know that you are sinful. But you need faith to believe and declare that you are the righteousness of God in Christ, in the midst of your struggles with temptation and sin.

For example, when you feel lousy because you have just shouted at your wife, God wants you to exercise your faith to see yourself as still righteous in the midst of that failure. This living revelation that you are still righteous will give you the strength to love your wife and reconcile things with her.

The devil may remind you of your foul temper and question your integrity: “How dare you call yourself righteous when you just did that!” Just ignore his lies and boldly declare, “I am not righteous because of what I have done or not done. I am righteous only because of the blood and finished work of Jesus at the cross!”

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Fortune Cookies

I was introduced to fortune cookies when I migrated to the United States. For those not familiar with a fortune cookie, it is a crisp hollow cookie with a fortune paper wrapped inside of it. These cookies are served mainly at Chinese restaurants as a dessert. The fortune paper has words of prophecies, lucky numbers, and such items that promise luck and fortune to you. Most people are excited to see what the future holds for them in those cookies.

Today, I was reminded of a tradition, which, I grew up practicing in church and is still being done today. Every New Years day, after the church service, people are handed out little bookmarks with prophetic scripture verses called "promise cards", mainly from the Old Testament and some from the New. Everyone is excited to find out, what specific promise God has for them for the new year. The excitement and curiosity is very similar to that of opening a fortune cookie. Someone called me today and asked if I had received the promise card. She proceeded on to mention that while her husband received a great promise, she received a "not so great" promise.

Not too long ago, while the revelation of the grace of God hadn't dawned on me yet, I was very much excited and even involved in the making and distribution of these cards. I have sat through the long hours of night to handcraft these cards along with the other youths from the church. After all we were making a great sacrifice in working for the Lord.

So, when this person mentioned about these cards with great excitement in her voice, I found myself not too enthusiastic about it. I just told her, that all the promises of God in His word are for me. Later, I was reminded of the verse which says, "All the promises of God are yea and amen in Christ Jesus" (2 Cor 1:20). I am not looking for a special promise in a way that resembles a fortune cookie. I am in Christ and Christ is in me. By His grace (not by my works) He has blessed me with everything needed for life and godliness already. He has given me exceeding great and precious promises whereby I have been made a partaker of His very divine nature (2 Peter 1:2-4). He has blessed me with every blessing in Christ Jesus(Eph 1:3). What else could I ask for other than the greatest promise and gift of the very life of Jesus inside of me. I am an heir and joint-heir with Christ. He became a curse so that all the blessings might come upon me. He fulfilled every condition so that I might be blessed by His obedience to the law. Thank you Jesus!

Thank God for his promises are yes and Amen in Christ Jesus!

THE NAKED GOSPEL - Andrew Farley

Please download this book for FREE by clicking here. You can also buy a copy for yourself by clicking here. It is a MUST read for every Christian! As Andrew puts it, it is "Jesus plus nothing. 100% natural. No additives.It's the truth you may never hear in church. The Naked Gospel is a chapter-by-chapter assault on the churchy jargon and double talk of our day. It puts forth a message that is simple but life-changing. With a fresh take on Scripture and unapologetic style, The Naked Gospel will challenge you to re-examine everything you thought you already knew."