Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The God & The World of John 3:16

The gospel is where the highest view of God & the highest view of humanity meet. "For God so loved the world..." says so much. It is not said as, "God so loved the world because he knows he can make them his slaves to serve him & stroke his ego." Nor does it say, "God so loved the world despite the fact that he knows they are putrid sinners that aren't worthy of love."

God is infinitely love & humanity is infinitely lovely. To claim otherwise is to disgrace God's own children, our brothers & sisters. It is to call good evil. It is to say that God's hatred for sin outweighs his love for us.

What parent among us lets our child's negative actions outweigh our love for them? When do we say to them, "My child, to me, what you do is more important that who you are."

God is never glorified at our expense. Instead He desires to share the riches of His glory with us. Our false humility of self degradation never pleases God just as no parent would be pleased while their child degrades his or herself.

God is love & we are made & remade into His image. Just as being a child of humans makes you human being a child of God makes you love! Yet just as babies cannot survive by themselves & must be nurtured & cared for, we as love must be nurtured by our father in order to love, to show who we are.

It should never baffle you that God loves you. Yes it should make you elated & joyful & thankful but you should never wonder "Why does he love me?" or "How can he love me?" Do we wonder why parents love their children? Do we wonder "Why do I love my child?" or "How can I possibly love my child?" No, love is a given. And to believe that God's love is less powerful than our love or that his "holiness" makes him shun his own children is to believe in a god that doesn't exist.

Sadly very few people believe in the God of John 3:16. Trust me.. you don't live in a different world. He loves you too.. more than you can imagine.

Related Posts
Why so few Believe John 3:16

Love in 1 Corinthians 13 Written as God's Vows to Us

I will wait for you & be kind to you. I will trust you & be considerate of you. I will not boast of myself but instead boast of us. I will not seek to control you. I will not make you feel small or insignificant. I will not shame or dishonor or disgrace you. I will not demand my own way. I will not be irritated or angry with you. I will not record, remember, or recall your wrongs, but I will never be glad to see you hurting. I will never think ill of you, but I will take no joy in seeing you harm yourself. We will rejoice together over truth & the simple reality that we are together. I will know when to be silent & when to speak.

No matter what comes I will always protect you, I will always believe the best of you, I will always be satisfied with you, I will always look forward to our life together, I will always stay beside you. I will never give up on you. My love for you will never diminish or fail. My love for you never ends.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Breaking the Law is Agreeing with the Law

"If I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law"(Romans 7:16).

This says breaking the law is agreeing with the law, showing that the law is good. How is that possible? Wouldn't keeping the law be agreeing with it & showing that it is good? Only if the purpose of the law was to be kept. The purpose of the law was to show you can't keep it thus letting you know that your good behavior cannot save you. Breaking the law should make someone agree with the purpose of the law. The law was not only a diagnosis of sin & coming death, it was also an invalid prescription. Why did God give an invalid prescription? Because that is the first prescription people would take anyway! People would try to save themselves by being good & acting right. The law was meant to keep people "searching for the cure." Jesus is the cure. The word "save" in the Bible also means "cure." Jesus is our Savior, our Healer.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

English Lesson: Grace, Guilt, Convict, Condemn, Righteous, Shame, Blame, Accuse

English Lesson
Grace - favor; goodwill; a disposition of kindness & compassion; respect; approval; esteem; honor; free love from God

Shame - feelings of disgrace, disfavor, guilt, unworthiness, condemnation; to make someone feel guilty; dishonor

Convict - charge someone with guilt; make someone feel guilty; condemn

Condemn - charge someone with guilt; pronounce someone as guilty; express disfavor

Guilt - feeling shame, disapproval, disgrace, dishonor, condemnation for supposed inadequacy or wrongdoing; blame

Blame - hold responsible; express condemnation

Righteous - without guilt; honorable; blameless; unsinful; defendable against accusation

Accuse - charge someone with guilt, inadequacy, or wrongdoing; charge someone with an offense or crime; blame

Let's Compare
Grace & shame are opposites. Grace & guilt are incompatible.
"All who receive God's wonderful abundance of grace (freedom from shame) and his gift of righteousness (freedom from guilt) will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:17)

Righteous & guilty are opposites.
God counts us as righteous (guiltless/blameless) if we trust in Him. (Romans 4:24)

Convict, condemn, & accuse mean the same things.
There is no condemnation (conviction/accusation) for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
Satan is the accuser (convictor/condemner) of the family of God. (Revelation 12:10)

The Dependable Promise
Here is a promise God makes SEVEN times in scripture:
"Whoever trusts in God will never be put to shame.” (Isaiah 28:16, 45:17, 54:4, Romans 9:33, 10:11, 1 Peter 2:6, Joel 2:26-27). I'd say that is something for us "dearly loved children" to be "imitators of God" about & not shame ourselves or others.

Does God Convict Christians?
"When The Holy Spirit comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because THEY do not trust in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and YOU (my disciples) no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged" (John 16:8-11).

The word convict in this scripture is better translated as "convince." Knowing this we can see Jesus is saying:
• The Holy Spirit will convince those who do not trust in Jesus of their sinful condition.
• The Holy Spirit will convince the those who know God of the righteousness He has given them.
• The Holy Spirit will convince people that the devil stands condemned.

This is the only scripture that could even be construed to say the Holy Spirit convicts Christians. But even if you do take the word convict here to mean "declare guilty" you must remember that righteous means "without guilt." Jesus says His disciples are only "convicted" of righteousness. Thus it is a play on words meaning "The Spirit declares you guilty of not being guilty!"

The word "conviction" only appears TWICE in scripture & in those TWO places only carries the meaning of "assurance."

If you believe the Holy Spirit convicts you of sins, that means you believe He puts you to shame, He makes you feel guilty. God has abundantly promised the opposite. Thus if you believe the Holy Spirit convicts you of sins you have been living under disgrace rather than under grace.

Since shame is making someone feel guilty & grace is the opposite of shame, grace then is making someone feel innocent & righteous. God teaches us, corrects us & guides us, He encourages our hearts to compassion, sympathy, & empathy but He never charges us with guilt or tries to make us feel guilty.

No condemnation means there is no shame, no conviction, no guilt, no punishment. There is only grace, favor, honor, approval, reward, & LOVE!

"Our Lord Jesus Christ will confirm to the end that you are indeed blameless." (1 Corinthians 1:8)
"Allow God to cause you to increase & abound in love for one another & for all people. When you do He will confirm to your hearts that you are blamelessly holy before our God & Father." (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Gospel Hidden in Names: Romans 16

There are 36 names mentioned by Paul in Romans 16. Looking at the meanings of their names reveals a hidden message from the Holy Spirit. I couldn't find anything on Google where someone had done this before so it is my pleasure to bring this hidden written message from the Holy Spirit to the rest of God's family.

"A radiant ancient eagle, Jesus the Lord is salvation. He is praiseworthy, exalted of God, a man of victory. He is youthful, large, & considerate. A head of grain called the Best Counselor & heroic.

Rest in luxury & pleasure woman.

Red & incomparable burning shall come to the god of thieves who fathered the messenger.

The lover of the Word, soft haired, put together, & heavenly, you are honoring God & are shining with bright white light. You know the one who will heal, the Savior who is of the Father.

From the third Lord to the beloved fourth, The Lord is Salvation."

The Radiant Youthful Eagle
The Lord said, "You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to Myself. Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:4-6).

This passage is fulfilled in Christ for all of God's children. We obey His voice by trusting Him (getting saved). Christians are called a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9). The covenant is entered into by trust rather than by works of the law. Israel never became a kingdom of priests but the Assembly has.
God says we are "brought to Himself by riding on eagles' wings" Christ is pictured as an eagle here in Romans 16 & we are brought to the Father by Him. The other eagles are those who proclaim the good news.

"The Lord gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, Those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary" (Isaiah 40:29-31).

The strength of the Lord is Jesus. Jesus is the "joy of the Lord," the Lord's ultimate enjoyment. So "the joy of the Lord is our strength" (Nehemiah 8:10). We are made like Him in spirit like strong youthful eagles. This scripture points to the rebirth of our spirit which joins itself to Jesus the "radiant ancient eagle." Likewise we who love Jesus the Word radiate with bright white light.

The Head of Grain
Jesus said in John 12:24, "I tell you the truth, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds."

Jesus said this referring to His death bringing our life. He is the first born child of God among many brothers & sisters (Romans 8:29). Here hidden in Romans 16 Jesus is called "a head of grain" by the Holy Spirit pointing back to Christ's statement above, amazing!

The Best Counselor

"His name will be called Wonderful Counselor" (Isaiah 9:6). Of course this is Jesus. Hidden in Romans 16 it says Jesus is "A head of grain called the best counselor!"

The god of Thieves & the Messenger
"The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever" (Revelation 20:10).

Hermes was the name of the Greek god of thieves. Here it points to Satan. John 10:10 says Satan only comes to thieve, kill, & destroy thus he is the god/father of thieves. A name meaning paternal connects the names Hermes & Hermas giving the idea of the false prophet being fathered by Satan. Satan is called "the father of lies" in John 8:44.

"Red & incomparable burning shall come to the god of thieves who fathered the messenger."

Soft haired

"The lover of the Word, soft haired, put together, & heavenly, you are honoring God & are shining with bright white light."

The description of the bride of Christ used here by the Holy Spirit is much like the language used in the Song of Solomon which is also God speaking to His bride. The lover of the Word is the bride of the Word, & The Word of course is Jesus.

The Signature of the Holy Spirit in Romans Romans 16:22-23
"I, Tertius, who write this letter, greet you in the Lord. Gaius, host to me and to the whole assembly, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer greets you, and Quartus, the brother."

Tertius means "third," Gaius means "lord," Erastus means "beloved," Quartus means "fourth"
Taking just the names we have the words third, lord, beloved, fourth. Perhaps this means "From the third Lord to the beloved fourth." The third lord would be the Holy Spirit, the fourth lord would be the assembly, all Christians. Jesus is the King of kings, we are His kings. He is the "Lord of lords," we are His lords.

Notice it also says, "I ,Tertius (or Third), write this letter." The Holy Spirit is doubly saying that He wrote Romans!

So there is a lot hidden in these names:  The awe-inspiring person of Jesus, the riches of being in Christ Jesus, the doom of the devil & the false prophet, the brilliance of the Bride of Christ, a reminder of Christ as healer, & the very signature of the Holy Spirit!

As a bonus there is also a message hidden in the names of the places mentioned in Romans 16.
"From Grain rises the Household of the Best Counselor, the Household of rest."

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Conviction & Soul Winning

"Soul winning" is a phrase used one time in the Old Covenant scriptures (Proverbs 11:30) & it was never a term applied to New Covenant "conversion" or evangelism. New Testament evangelism wasn't focused on "winning" but on "proclaiming" the good news. It was never a burden to try to get people saved. It was a joy to tell people about Jesus & go from there. In the letters of the New Testament you don't see people being told to "get out there & win the lost."

The idea of "soul winning" often equals "winning" an argument or manipulating a stranger into saying a "sinner's prayer." If they do you invite them to church, hope they come, & never talk to them again. If you have to "win" people that means you "lose" if you fail to get them to pray a prayer.

So evangelism as pushed in most churches is a legalistic parroting that has nothing to do with the person you are talking to, it only has to do with you "making sure you witness enough" for God to not be disappointed with you. It is shame based & law based witnessing. Part of the gospel is that Jesus came to free us from both shame & the burden of the law. So if you talk to people about God because you have to & you'll feel guilty if you don't you're not exuding the results of the gospel at all. You're exuding the opposite.

I've seriously heard multiple people say that the MAIN difference between a Christian & a non-Christian is that God "convicts" Christians of their sins. Convict means "to charge with guilt, to make someone feel guilty, to shame someone by calling out their faults." According to this "the good news" is that if you become a Christian God will make you feel really really bad about everything you even slightly do wrong in your life.

Our conviction of sin guilt is imaginary. Scripture NEVER says that God convicts Christians of sin. It in fact says the opposite. God does not charge people with the guilt of sin (2 Corinthians 5:19). And God promises SEVEN times that He will never make us feel guilty or shameful (Isaiah 28:16, 45:17, 54:4, Romans 9:33, 10:11, 1 Peter 2:6, Joel 2:26-27).

So instead of freedom from slavery to sin, guilt, shame, & the law you are put into the maximum security prison of hyper law which leads you to believe that every single command in all of scripture was written for you to keep & every single moment of shame or guilt or obligation is God's "conviction." How foreign to the gospel this is! It saying being a Christian means there are more laws to keep & more shame being heaped & God charges you with sin more than ever.

No wonder people think they have to "win souls" because who would choose a God like that? People try to "win" souls like they try to win a war because their goal is to get people to "surrender" to God. Scripture DOES NOT USE the word "surrender" because God is not at war with us! He is our loving Father. He waits for His children to come home & celebrates with we who are already at home with Him.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Not a Job but a Journey

Christian religion makes us believe that we have all the right answers (commands) & that we only need to implement them. That we have the full truth as passed down from theologians & doctrines that have already examined scripture. It says the problem we have is not our beliefs but our lack of desire & effort.

What an effective way for "the father of lies," the devil, to hinder us! Jesus didn't call him "the thwarter of honest effort." He called the devil the father of lies. You can notice godless religion easily because it focuses on our ineffectiveness. It defines all the commands & "truths" we should know & then measures us on how well we obey them. It is faithless, it has nothing to do with trusting God, it is all about OUR efforts.

When you aren't allowed to question or consider your beliefs as wrong you spin your wheels forever because YOU are the problem. You just need to TRY HARDER! But when you start with the wrong blueprints & you dedicate yourself to stick to them you will never be able to build the right house.

Religion never asks you, "Are you believing a lie?" Because religions are built to be the places where you get truth & answers. If you question what they've told you then the religion has failed because religion is about being right.

We must dare ask ourselves questions like "Have I been believing the wrong things?" & "Have I been taught falsehoods?" Satan's fiery arrows are lies. Our problems don't come from our weakness to obey truth but our unwillingness or ignorance to believe truth.

And the truth IS that you don't have to try, you only need to trust your Father & He will guide you into all the desires & efforts necessary for TODAY (Philippians 2:13). He will also lead you away from all the desires & efforts that were never good for you.

God is not a boss training you for a job. He is a Father walking with you on your life's journey. He doesn't expect you to get all of your actions & answers right by the end of your first week. You are His beloved child, not His employee. Think about that! Seriously stop & think about that...

Think about how differently a child is raised from infancy by her or his parents compared to how someone is trained for a job. Now remember that He is the Father & you are the child!!

This life is not about a job (mission/plan/purpose) that God plans for you to carry out. This life is the family of God being loved & raised together by our wise & loving Father.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Father Lens: Confession Before Fellowship

Imagine a father who, every time you get together, requires you to tell him about ALL your recent mistakes & failures before going into any other conversation. And if you don't do so He will have nothing to do with you. Who wants to even approach a father who requires every conversation start with focusing on your faults?

That was how I & many others were taught to pray to our heavenly Father. We were told, "Confess your sins when you start the prayer or God will not hear you." This idea of God is the complete opposite of grace. It pictures him as letting any & every conceivable negative thing immediately stand between you & him because he is so impatient & offendable.

I thank you true Father that you are not a graceless grump who is always looking for an excuse to ditch or demean his children. I thank you that You love us with humble gentleness & not with harsh egotism.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Being "Used" By God - Debunking Religious Clichés

Scripture never says that God wants to "use" us nor that we should ask to be "used" by Him. Pleading to our heavenly Father "Daddy use me!" is desperate, distorted, & disgusting language. If your goal is to be "used by God" you are still attaching your value to your works. Instead of seeking to be "used" look for what God is doing today & ask Him if He wants you to join in with Him. Seek also to realize how God has already been joining you in what you are doing. You are not God's tool. You are His child. Our Father works with, plays with, & rests with His children.

"Following" God Without Predicting the Path

One of the problems people have with "following" God is that they presume a destination. "God is trying to get me to do this, He's trying to get me to stop doing that, He wants to get me to a place where I'm willing to do these things.."

Jesus said that when you look at someone who is walking by the Spirit you "don't know where they are coming from & you don't know where they are going."

So instead of trying to predict a grand goal of God settle into the love, affection, & guidance into trust that He has for you each day.

To "follow" Jesus doesn't mean He's off ahead in the distance saying, "Keep up the pace!" The New Testament word for "follow" means "to accompany on the same path." It is walking WITH God. It is being aware that God is always with you & keeping an open heart & an open ear to His gentle & humble guidance.

Related Posts
Follow Christ? But I thought He was in me

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Word of God Stands Forever?

We have a terrible habit of assuming that every time the word "word" appears in scripture that it refers to the whole bible. But that is seldom the case. Below is one example.

"The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of the Lord will stand forever" (Isaiah 40:8).

God is love & love keeps no record of wrongs. In places the bible records the wrongs of God's people. So to suggest that the bible, as canonized, is the "word of the Lord that stands forever" goes against the truth that God is love.

1 Peter 1:25 says, "The word of the Lord stands forever. This word is the GOOD NEWS that was proclaimed to you." We see that the gospel is the word that lasts forever, not our collection of written scriptures called the bible.

May we stop praising the pages & start praising Jesus our Prince & Priest.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

As a Little Child

Jesus said, "Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will not enter into it at all."
We've been taught this means to have "child-like faith." But the context is about Jesus receiving children to Himself. Let us look at this with what is said next, "'Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will not enter into it at all.' Then taking the children in His arms, He was blessing them. And putting His hands on them."

Is Jesus actually picturing us receiving the kingdom of God, not as a child would, but as if it were a child?

People love getting to see & hold my baby daughter. They smile & are excited. Is that the type of eager & happy attitude Jesus is saying people should be having when they are getting saved instead of an attitude of brokenness over sin? Remember the gospel is that Jesus DIDN'T hold our sins against us & that He TOOK THEM AWAY on the cross. He was broken for us so we don't have to be broken. Receiving salvation was never meant to be a time of shame over sin but instead a time to rejoice over the REMOVAL of sin & shame!

Some people are afraid of holding a new born. They don't trust themselves to handle him or her properly. Likewise I've heard people choose not to be saved because they couldn't handle it properly, meaning they think they sin too much.

But was Jesus saying the genuine salvation experience doesn't spring from an attitude of shamefulness over sin or a fear of hell/God/punishment but with eagerness & happiness treasuring what God is giving to you?

Was Jesus cluing us into what makes false conversions? Is getting saved about the fleeing of fear & flames or the freeing Fatherly embrace of God? People who were saved in the New Testament leaped with joy, they didn't bow & wail.

It is no wonder so many seek to "recommit" their lives to God. Because right from the start they are taught that God holds sins against them, that He demands apology & remorse & shame & brokenness on our part before we ever engage Him. That is not good news!

It treats God as a newspaper stand. You have to pay Him one of those supposed demands every time you want a taste of good news. Whenever you have to pay for good news you aren't getting good news, you aren't getting the true results of the gospel. You aren't receiving God's free gift. You are receiving falsehood that pins you down instead of frees you.

Jesus told a Parable about a "Pearl of Great Price." He said, "The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had and bought it." We have been falsely told that Jesus is the pearl & we must give up all we have to pay to get Him. But the truth is that admission into the kingdom is free. Jesus is the merchant who found our beauty & paid the great price of His life for us. We are the beautiful pearl.

The message is not that we are wretched sinners in need of a savior. It is that we are lost but BEAUTIFUL pearls that need their value restored. Redeem means "to restore value." The good news isn't that God is awesome & we are filthy failures. It is that we are beautiful to our awesome Father regardless of our filth & failures & that He & Jesus "gave everything they had" to make us a part of their family.

So when someone is coming to be saved they shouldn't be picturing a disappointed dad withholding all love until he receives an apology. They should be seeing a Father who loves them more than they ever realized whose heart is home. A Father who has already done all the work, already has everything provided for you. You don't even have to lay down your burdens. He lifts them off of you. This is true forgiveness, not that He temporarily gives up a grudge, but that He grasps your guilt & erases it, freeing you forever.

How sweet to hold the kingdom within you & the joy it brings.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The False Gospel of Forgiveness & Repentance

The English idea of repentance, even for salvation, is anti-gospel &  anti-grace.

Religion says "repent," means "turn from your sin." But the Greek word we have translated as repent instead means, "change your mind." Religion says, "repent of your sins over & over until you die." The true gospel says, "Change your minds because you do not have to deal with your sin, Jesus has dealt with them for you. Receive His grace."

In reality it is harder for people to be willing to change their minds to the idea that God loves them too much to hold their actions against them than it is for them to dodge the true gospel & buy into the gospel of repentance. Repentance makes you go through disgrace in order to get to grace. Disgrace & shame are literally the same thing. The gospel is the gospel of grace! (Acts 20:24)

Re-penance, penance is defined as "voluntary self-punishment to atone for a sin." The false gospel of repentance says that you must atone (make amends with God) for your sin over & over by feeling bad about what you've done & turning from sin, meaning you promise God you'll stop or try to stop particular sins.

God has already "reconciled the world to Himself" (2 Corinthians 5:19). We only need to reconcile ourselves to God. But we don't have to do so through "repentance" because "God no longer counts men's sins against them" (also 2 Corinthians 5:19). The gospel isn't about you letting go of sin. It is about God making sin let go of you! Him freeing you & saving you from sin.

Matthew 1:21 says His name is Jesus, which means "Yahweh Saves," because He saves His people from their sins!  He doesn't force you to repent of sins or confess sins to continually "get right with God." That isn't saving. That is a joke. If He did that it would be like Him saving you from a burning building only to take you to a new building & douse you with gasoline on a floor full of lit matches.

His name is also Emmanuel because He is God WITH us. He doesn't break fellowship with us in between confessions. He doesn't put you in time out then walk away until you say, "I'm sorry I'll never do that

Repent has been mistranslated into the New Testament. The word it replaces means "change your mind."

Jesus said in Mark 1:15, "Change your minds & believe in the good news." BELIEVE IN THE GOOD NEWS. The good news is better news than anyone is prepared for so people have to change their minds to believe in it.

The word "forgive" is also a mistranslation. It doesn't mean "to stop holding things against someone" as it does in English. The original word means "to lift off & carry away." God is love & as love He "doesn't take into account wrongs suffered." Instead Jesus "took away sins by the sacrifice of Himself" (Hebrews 9:26). God never "forgave you" because He never held anything against you to begin with.

The false gospel of forgiveness & repentance makes no sense. It says "deal with your sins so God can deal with your sins." It makes you the one that takes the first step instead of Jesus. It is cross-less!!! If you have to "turn from your sins" for God to "forgive you" where is the cross in that? What did Jesus die for? To lighten up the Father's attitude so He would be willing to forgive? Anyone who needs to kill his own son to be willing to forgive is a MONSTER! You should have nothing to do with someone like that!

Jesus died to conquer sin & death & remove it's power over mankind. He didn't die to soften the Father's heart so He'd be willing to accept our apologies for offending Him.

Countless people have run away in shame & fear because of this false gospel. They aren't willing to give up some behavior (turn from their sin) so they walk away from Jesus the only one who can save them from sin!

What kind of unconditional love.. what kind of savior says, "You have to promise to stop doing the things that tick me off before I can save you"????!

When people were saved in the New Testament they rejoiced. But we teach that people must be broken over their sin to be saved so they end up walking the isle with tears of shame in their eyes because they suck so much & are grateful God is willing, in all His untouchable "holiness," to forgive them so they can get into heaven instead of burning forever.

Jesus desires to save everyone but these people don't know what they are saved from. They think they are only saved from the eternal consequence of their sins. They don't see a loving father to embrace, they see a fireman who rescued them who they'll only get glimpses of a few more times in their life.

This false gospel says "being saved" is:
1. A ticket to heaven
2. God being willing to treat you nicely as long as you act right & confess & apologize (repent) for everything you conceivably do wrong.
3. The Spirit cheerleading you from the sidelines (by burdening you with feelings of obligation, guilt, & shame, which we label as "conviction") to keep whichever commands you come across from the bible.

So instead of feeling like a beloved child of God you feel like an overwhelmed hopeless miserable slave of an abusive master.

This all leaves the responsibility to maintain the relationship on the child rather than the FATHER. Instead of the FATHER being filled with love & compassion & affection & desire for His child, the child has to walk on eggshells to stay "right with God." Thus you are left with no security, absolutely no rest, & no real desire to trust the Father. Why? Because the father this false gospel paints is a terrible untrustworthy father, easier to offend than anyone else in existence, willing to withhold affection & abandon you the moment you do ANYTHING, ANYTHING He doesn't like.

And ALL of these lies start on Day #1 because we've been told "turn from your sins so God will forgive you." That statement has never deserved a place anywhere near the gospel. It goes against the finished work of the cross, the character of God, & the bible's definition of love.

I thank God that His light can penetrate any darkness & can illuminate the abundant life He is always offering us.

"God raised up Jesus & sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your evil ways" (Acts 3:26).

"God is love. Love does not take into account wrongs suffered" (1 Corinthians 13:5).

We are Greater than the Greatest! We are One with Him!

Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, among those BORN OF WOMEN, there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist. But he who is least in the kingdom of the God of Heaven is greater than he.”

Those in the kingdom of God are BORN OF GOD. Jesus said John the Baptist was the greatest man that ever lived up to that point. But because of our spiritual rebirth the least of us are greater than he. "Your new self has been born in God's likeness, truly righteous and truly holy" (Ephesians 4:24).

John the Baptist was "filled with the Spirit from the womb" (Luke 1:15). But we are better than filled because He & we are ONE. "We who have joined ourselves to the Lord are one spirit with Him" (1 Corinthians 6:17).

Christ is a body, Jesus is the head of that body, those who trust Him are the rest of that body. Just as my hand is me and a part of me so too are we parts of the body of Christ and we are Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12). We are "one body and one Spirit" with God (Ephesians 4:4).

We are Greater than the Greatest! We are One with Him!

Are You Satisfied with Your Righteousness?

Jesus said, "Blessed are those of you who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for you will be satisfied."

How many of you are satisfied with your righteousness?

If you think your righteousness comes by keeping commands you are never satisfied.
If you have a partial understanding of your identity because of Christ but you still hold to the power of sin (the law) you are rarely satisfied but can sometimes be satisfied by simply hungering or thirsting.
But those walk only under grace "never thirst again" (John 4:14). They are truly satisfied. Jesus said, "Whoever comes to Me will not hunger, and whoever trusts in Me will not thirst at any time" (John 6:35).

But it is even grater than that. Jesus said about the Holy Spirit, “If anyone thirsts, let Him come to Me and drink. The one trusting in Me, as the scripture said, out of his belly will flow rivers of living water" (John 7:37-39). So not only will we never thirst but we ourselves will flow out RIVERS of living water!

"Jesus himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 2:2). Atoning means satisfying. "Jesus himself is the satisfying sacrifice for our sins." That means we can be satisfied with nothing else but His sacrifice concerning our sins & righteousness. His sacrifice satisfies us to where we can need nothing else; not even our performance, behavior, emotions; to make us confident that we know God without barriers & are fully cleansed of all unrighteousness.

God recreated us with the righteousness of Jesus! "Your new self has been created in God's likeness, truly righteous and truly holy" (Ephesians 4:24). In addition to that, in a mind boggling move, He made us "the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21). He made us inseparable from His righteousness by making us into His very own righteousness!

Are you satisfied?

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Let's Share in the Satisfaction of His Sacrifice