Monday, March 29, 2010

A Brand New Creation

2 Cor 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

As we are approaching Good Friday and Easter, the whole world remembers the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. While that is very important, most Christians fail to see the complete picture that WE TOO were crucified with Him, buried and raised to a new life with Him. Let me remind you once again that when Christ was nailed to the cross 2000 years ago, you and I were crucified with him too. (Gal 2:20; Rom 6:6; Col 3:3; 2 Cor 5:14). But you say, “How can I believe that?” I say, “How do you know that Christ died for your sins? Were you physically there when He died? Did you see it with your eyes?” You accept it as truth by faith and receive the forgiveness of sins. In the same way, by faith, see yourselves hanging on the same cross, inside Jesus. He took you and me into Him when He died. 2 Cor 5:14 says, “If one died for all, therefore all died”.

The good news doesn’t end there. Not only did you die, but you were buried and raised with Him with a New life. You receive this New life when you are born again from your dead spiritual state. This New life is nothing other than the very life of Jesus. To explain this in simple terms, there are 3 things that happen at new birth. 1) You appropriate the forgiveness of sins provided 2000 years – you are washed clean. 2) You are given a ‘brand New spirit’. A divine surgery takes place inside you. God takes out your dead spirit and transplants a brand new spirit or a brand new “you” inside of you. Read 2 Cor 5:17 – It says you are a brand ‘new creation ‘– which means one that never existed before. The old you is gone forever, never to come back again. 3) The spirit of Jesus or the Holy Spirit comes inside of you and becomes one with your new spirit. I Cor 6:17 says, “he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit”. Your spirit and His spirit join to become one spirit. That is why Paul could say that even though he (Paul) is living, yet it is no longer Paul living, but Christ living in Him. Same is the case with all of us.

Dear friends, this is absolute good news! Christ Jesus came inside you to live in you, and to live through you, and guess what, to live AS you! You don’t have to struggle anymore, let Him do His work in you and through you. Christian (Christ-in) life is not about YOU anymore, it is about Christ in you. Christian life is not about ‘you doing’ something for God; rather it is Christ working through you. So what is your role then? – Just be available for Him. Christ needs a body to work in this earth, and He uses your body and personality to do that work. Not only that, His life is dispensed and manifested through your life, to the extent you let Him do so. This is one of the original purposes for which man was created, to be the image or representation of God on this earth. Adam, by not eating from the tree of life, could never accomplish that purpose. Today you and I have the life of Jesus (the tree of Life) which Adam chose not to have. Hallelujah!! There is a world around you waiting to be ministered to, by the Jesus inside you. Will you stop working out of your own flesh and let Him work through you? REST IN HIM! It’s better to do ONE thing which Jesus does through you, than 100 things you do on your own FOR Him.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Let me tell you a secret - The Christian life is not only hard, but is impossible to live. So quit trying to live it. There is only one person who can live it and that is none other than Christ!

He wants to live His life through you. Jesus said, “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” If you have been struggling to live your Christian life, Jesus is asking you to STOP all your religious acrobatics and self-efforts and simply be joined to Him and rest in Him. Let Him live His life through you. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. (I Thess 5:24). For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (Phil 2:14). He is the author and finisher of your faith; He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. Many people think that He is the author but they have to be the finisher, He is the alpha and they are the omega. NO! He began a good work in you and He will perform it until the day of Christ (Phil 1: 6). If we are unfaithful, He still remains faithful (2 Tim 2:13). Verse after verse, do you see that you are not the one supposed to be doing the work, rather it is He who is working in you. Do you see that the Christian life is no longer “I”, but Christ who lives in me? (Gal 2:20)

Gal 2:20 should go deep down in our hearts. It is worth quoting that verse. ‘I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.’

Dear friends, 2000 years ago, when Christ hung on that cross, you were also crucified with Him. You are dead! It is no longer you that is living, but Christ is alive and well and living in you. Christianity is not a behavior modification program or trying to live a holy life. Rather, God took your life and nailed it to the cross with Christ and in exchange He gave His life freely to you! He couldn’t do anything with your life. It had to be put to death on the cross. Yet many people are rededicating their lives to God and trying to do something with their lives for God. Young brother, dear sister, you cannot do it, which is why Christ laid down His life for us, so that He could give His life to us, so that He could live His life through us! As long as we are trying and trying and trying, He cannot live His life through you. When you rest from your works that is when you will see His life manifest through you. This is the secret of victorious Christian living. It is no longer I but Christ who lives in me! You step back and trust Him to live His life through you moment by moment.

Quit trying to please Him with your works, quit trying to score brownie points with Him. The one thing that pleases Him is faith, for without faith it is impossible to please Him – Faith in what Jesus has done and has given us freely, independent of our works! He is already pleased with you! He Loves You! Enter into His Rest!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Have You Heard the True Gospel?

(Please read this article and answer ONE question at the end)

"If God has already forgiven all our sins by His grace through Jesus Christ, and we are made righteous apart from our works, wouldn’t that cause people to go out and sin with impunity? Doesn’t this give people a license to sin?" - This is a very common question and objection to the pure unadulterated gospel of grace. Perhaps, after reading my articles, this question must have crossed your mind too. Did you know that Paul, in his presentation of the gospel, had to stop and interject this question, ‘Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace’ at least three times (Rom 6:1, 15 and 3:8) so as to make sure that people weren’t getting the wrong idea?

What Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones of the Westminster Chapel, London, had to say about this question is very PROFOUND. He said, “The true preaching of the gospel of salvation by grace alone ALWAYS leads to the possibility of this charge being brought against it. There is no better test as to whether a man is really preaching the New Testament gospel of salvation than this, that some people might misunderstand it and misinterpret it to mean that, because you are saved by grace alone it does not matter at all what you do; you can go on sinning as much as you like because it will redound all the more to the glory of grace. If my preaching and presentation of the gospel of salvation does not expose it to that misunderstanding, then it is not the gospel. Let me show you what I mean.

If a man preaches justification by works, no one would ever raise this question. If a man’s preaching is, ‘If you want to be Christians, and if you want to go to heaven, you must stop committing sins, you must take up good works, and if you do so regularly and constantly, and do not fail to keep on at it, you will make yourselves Christians, you will reconcile yourselves to God and you will go to heaven’. Obviously a man who preaches in that strain would never be liable to this misunderstanding. Nobody would say to such a man, ‘Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?’, because the man’s whole emphasis is just this, that if you go on sinning you are certain to be damned, and only if you stop sinning can you save yourselves. So that misunderstanding could never arise.

I would say to all preachers: If your preaching of salvation has not been misunderstood in that way, then you had better examine your sermons again, and you had better make sure that you are really preaching the salvation that is offered in the New Testament to the ungodly, the sinner, to those who are dead in trespasses and sins, to those who are enemies of God. There is this kind of dangerous element about the true presentation of the doctrine of salvation.”

So, if you will be honest with yourselves, please answer this one question - In all your years of sitting in the pews and listening to sermons, has any sermon ever provoked you to think – ‘preacher, are you saying that we can sin now since we are under grace’? If no preaching has ever raised this question in your mind, then perhaps, you have never heard the true New Testament Gospel.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Canning Peaches!

Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

The gospel has 2 parts to it: 1) forgiveness of sins and 2) restoration of Life to dead men. Forgiveness of sins is provided by the death of Jesus on the cross, whereas His Life is given by His resurrection. When were we reconciled to God, according to Rom 5:10? – When we were His enemies? Why were we reconciled? – So that we could experience His life. Without understanding and experiencing complete forgiveness (not momentary forgiveness) provided by the cross, one can NEVER experience the reality of His Life.

To understand why Christ had to deal with the sin issue (forgiveness) once and for all, the process of canning is an excellent illustration. Imagine that you are going to preserve some peaches. The first thing that needs to be done is to sterilize the jars. Why the sterilization of the jars? – So that the peaches will be preserved from spoiling. So when the sterilization of the jars is done, do we stop with the process? No, the reason we sterilize the jars is so that we can fill them with something.

God’s sterilization process is the cross whereby we are forgiven. His filling process is Christ coming to live in us through His resurrection. Unfortunately, many of us have only heard one half of the gospel – which is the sterilization process or forgiveness of sins. Worse yet, many are not even convinced that the jars are clean once and for all by His sterilization process. They think that His sterilization has an expiration date, which is when they mess up.

But by focusing only on the sterilization process or forgiveness of sins, not only have we missed out on experiencing the Life, but we have missed the purpose of forgiveness in the first place. The reason that God had to deal with the sin issue once and for all was so that we could be filled with Christ “without spoiling.”

Actually, that’s not the end of the canning process. After sterilizing the jars and filling them with the peaches, the jars are sealed. Sealing keeps the good things inside and the bad things that would spoil the contents outside. Eph 1:13 says that, “after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise”.

Cleansing, filling, and sealing: a wonderful picture of salvation! Once we see that the goal of salvation is the raising of dead men to life; it is easy to see why Christ had to deal with the sin issue once and for all.

(Adapted from Bob George’s “Classic Christianity – Life’s Too Short to Miss the Real Thing”)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Yakoub's Confusion!

Heb 10:2 ..because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

Heb 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

Let’s imagine that Yakoub is an Israelite from the days of the Old Covenant. On the Day of Atonement, Yakoub is participating in and watching the rituals being performed at the temple. The High priest kills a bull and a goat and enters the Holy of Holies and sprinkles blood for the covering of sins. Then he takes another goat and transfers the sins of the entire nation to that goat by laying his hands on it. They confess their sins and this goat is driven away to the wilderness never to come back again. Now Yakoub has been fasting for this event. He goes away happy that his sins have been taken care of. But this forgiveness that he received lasts only for a year. The next year on the same day, he has to participate in this annual fasting prayer, where he has to confess his sins again, the substitutionary sacrificial animals are slain and the scapegoat is driven away.

The reason this had to be done over and over and over again was because the blood of bulls and goats could only "cover" sins and not take them away completely (Heb 10:4). Yakoub thought to himself, "If there was a perfect sacrifice that would completely take away all the sins that I would commit in my lifetime, then there would be no need for this annual sacrifice year after year. One sacrifice would take away all my sins and make me clean and perfect before God forever. I would never have to think about sins ever again and walk with a guilty conscience."(Heb 10:1-4)

Fast forward to the days of John the Baptist. Beholding Jesus he says, "Behold the lamb of God that “takes away” the sins of the world." Seems like Yakoub's dream is about to become a reality. The writer of Hebrews hammers away at the truth that Jesus offered Himself as "ONE sacrifice for all time". Why not over and over again like the old covenant sacrifices? Because by ONE sacrifice He completely took away our lifetime of sins, removed guilt and gave us a pure conscience, and made us clean and perfect in the sight of God. This is what Yakoub has been longing for. He is now happy that the perfect sacrifice has been made once and for all.

Now let’s fast forward to the modern church. Imagine Yakoub attends one of our services. He watches people fasting and moaning and groaning and confessing their sins. He begins to scratch his head. The scene reminds him of his old days when he used to do the same thing pondering over all his rotten sins while waiting for the animal to be slain on his behalf. He says, "Something is wrong with the picture here. Jesus' sacrifice was supposed to deal with the sin issue once and for all. People were supposed to be forgiven once forever by His ONE time sacrifice. People were never supposed to be conscious of sins anymore. People were supposed to be made clean and perfect. I guess the sacrifice of Jesus only “covered sins” and did not “take them away” completely. I guess the sacrifice of Jesus did not do its job. If the sacrifice of Jesus was 100% effective then the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins!(Heb 10:2) I used to only have an annual reminder of sins; these people seem to be having a monthly, weekly and, in most cases, a daily reminder of sins. My forgiveness by the blood of bulls and goats lasted for one full year; these people's forgiveness seems to last only till the next time they mess up. I guess the blood of bulls and goats was superior than that of Jesus. What's wrong with this picture?"

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Forgiveness Q & A

Col 2: 13,14 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.

I want you to answer some questions about forgiveness of sins. If you put away your religious or denominational cap for a few minutes and think honestly, the answers you arrive at may shock you and may be the most wonderful discovery you've ever made.

1. Did Jesus die for your sins?
2. Did Jesus experience the righteous wrath and fury of God against sin? If so whose sin was it – Jesus or your sin?
3. If Jesus bore your punishment and died on your behalf, what does that make you - GUILTY or FREE & FORGIVEN (cleared of all charges against you)?
4. If you were (FORGIVEN) cleared of all charges, would it be fair for you to be judged and punished again?
5. Did Jesus die for ALL your sins?
6. If so how many of your sins were forgiven?
7. When Jesus died more than 2000 years ago, how many sins had you committed?
8. Does that mean when Jesus died, ALL your sins were future sins (not yet committed)?
9. If, when Jesus died, all your sins were future sins, can you say today (March 15, 2010) that Jesus died for and forgave ALL your sins (past, present and EVEN the future ones)?
10. Can we say that God stands in eternity outside “time” and can see the end from the beginning and he paid for and forgave ALL your sins even when they were future sins?
11. Was His cruel death on the cross and your forgiveness dependent on your choice to participate in it?

Heb 9:26 says that Jesus appeared to put away or “obliterate” sin by His own sacrifice. Did He do a good job at obliterating your sin? God has blotted or erased your sins from his memory (Heb 8:12; 10:17; Isaiah 43:25) by the sacrifice of Jesus. Why remind Him what He has chosen to forget? Jesus said, “IT IS FINISHED”. The issue of sin has been taken care once and for all by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus. He removed your sin and declared you innocent. Do you believe this too good to be true good news (gospel)?

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