Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Character and Nature of God: “Holy Spirit”

The following is a recording from our Wednesday night Bible Study groups (2020-08-05), followed by the verses and questions.


I.            TOPIC:

We want to continue to look at the Character and Nature of God—this time as the “Holy Spirit”. When you go through the following scripture reading, focus on understanding He is a Gift to us all. And also what He brings to us. After the reading, there are related verses that will ask some questions for you to think through and respond to. And also if you want to experience this same Holy Spirit with His Fruit and Gifts.

 

II.            READING:    John 20:19-22 and Acts 2:1-41 (CSB)

19 When it was evening on that first day of the week, the disciples were gathered together with the doors locked because they feared the Jews. Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 Having said this, he showed them his hands and his side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you.” 22 After saying this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

1 When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they [believers] were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying. 3 They saw tongues like flames of fire that separated and rested on each one of them. 4 Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them.

5 Now there were Jews staying in Jerusalem, devout people from every nation under heaven. 6 When this sound occurred, a crowd came together and was confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 They were astounded and amazed, saying, “Look, aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 How is it that each of us can hear them in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites; those who live in Mesopotamia, in Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts), 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the magnificent acts of God in our own tongues.” 12 They were all astounded and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But some sneered and said, “They’re drunk on new wine.”

14 Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed to them, “Fellow Jews and all you residents of Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and pay attention to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it’s only nine in the morning. 16 On the contrary, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17 And it will be in the last days, says God,

that I will pour out my Spirit on all people;

then your sons and your daughters will prophesy,

your young men will see visions,

and your old men will dream dreams.

18 I will even pour out my Spirit

on my servants in those days, both men and women

and they will prophesy.

19 I will display wonders in the heaven above

and signs on the earth below:

blood and fire and a cloud of smoke.

20 The sun will be turned to darkness

and the moon to blood

before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes.

21 Then everyone who calls

on the name of the Lord will be saved.

22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to these words: This Jesus of Nazareth was a man attested to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through him, just as you yourselves know. 23 Though he was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail him to a cross and kill him. 24 God raised him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by death. 25 For David says of him:

I saw the Lord ever before me;

because he is at my right hand,

I will not be shaken.

26 Therefore my heart is glad

and my tongue rejoices.

Moreover, my flesh will rest in hope,

27 because you will not abandon me in Hades

or allow your holy one to see decay.

28 You have revealed the paths of life to me;

you will fill me with gladness

in your presence.

29 “Brothers and sisters, I can confidently speak to you about the patriarch David: He is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn an oath to him to seat one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah: He was not abandoned in Hades, and his flesh did not experience decay.

32 “God has raised this Jesus; we are all witnesses of this. 33 Therefore, since he has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, he has poured out what you both see and hear. 34 For it was not David who ascended into the heavens, but he himself says:

The Lord declared to my Lord,

‘Sit at my right hand

35 until I make your enemies your footstool.’

36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

37 When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he testified and strongly urged them, saying, “Be saved from this corrupt generation!” 41 So those who accepted his message were baptized [into Christ], and that day about three thousand people were added to them.

 

III.            RELATED VERSES AND QUESTIONS:

A.      John 20:7-11

7-11 Nevertheless I (Jesus Christ) tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of:

  • Sin, because they do not believe in Me;
  • Righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;
  • Judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

Question: Do you ever feel the Holy Spirit (Lord) is judging you for your sins; or reminding you of them?


B.      Acts 4:29-31 (NKJV)

29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

Question: Do you know what it is to be “filled” with the Holy Spirit?

 

C.      Acts 8:14-17 (NKJV)

14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Question: Can someone be a believer and not yet be baptised in the Holy Spirit?

 

D.      Acts 19:1-6 (NKJV)

And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

Question: Does there seem to be an importance to the disciples that someone is baptized in the Holy Spirit?

 

E.       1 Corinthians 3:16-17

16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy this [defilement (G5126)]. For the temple of God is holy, which you are.

Question: Have you ever felt God is angry with you when you sin—that He may even want to destroy you?

Further reading: http://cbadenhorst.blogspot.com/2017/05/misunderstanding-and-misinterpretation.html

 

F.       Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Question: Do you feel the Holy Spirit provides these fruits for you now?

 

G.      1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (CSB)

4 Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are different activities, but the same God works all of them in each person. 7 A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good: 8 to one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit, to another, a message of knowledge by the same Spirit, 9 to another, faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another, the performing of miracles, to another, prophecy, to another, distinguishing between spirits, to another, different kinds of tongues, to another, interpretation of tongues. 11 One and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as he wills.

Question: Did Jesus or the disciples perform these gifts? Do you think you can?


H.      Romans 12:4-8 (CSB)

4 Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, 5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. 6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: If prophecy, use it according to the proportion of one’s faith; 7 if service, use it in service; if teaching, in teaching; 8 if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness.

Question: Do you find yourself operating in any of these gifts? Do you feel any are stronger in you than others?

 

I.         Romans 11:29 (NKJV)

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable [without repentance].

Question: Can you lose the gift of the Holy Spirit, or His gifts?

 

IV.            FURTHER THOUGHT:

A.      Acts 5:1-10 (KJV): Ananias and Sapphira

Thoughts: When you read the account of Ananias and Sapphira, please note that it does not say that the Holy Spirit (nor God, nor Jesus) struck them dead. It says they “yielded up” (G1634) their spirits. They did it to themselves—their own conscience convicted them, and most likely their heart failed them because of their own fear of God. A further explanation is detailed here:

http://cbadenhorst.blogspot.com/2017/05/misunderstanding-and-misinterpretation.html


Saturday, April 4, 2020

Paul Doesn’t Calm the Storm


Many times, the Holy Spirit makes me question something in the Bible—either because of a translation or because He wants me to dig into another aspect of Him and our relationship. This time, it’s the latter, bringing to me the question:

“Why didn’t Paul calm the storm?” (Acts 27).

It puzzled me, because we know Paul understood the power and authority he had in Christ and the Holy Ghost. He may not have been present the times Jesus calmed the storms but knew the stories and knew that was something all believers could do. For me, it would have saved Paul much trouble being stranded at sea and then shipwrecked. So why didn’t Paul calm the storm?

I asked someone else about this question and their answer of “because Paul was in disobedience” did not sit right with me. There was another reason, for we know that the ‘Gifts of the Spirit are without repentance’ (Romans 11:29) and ‘our righteousness is in Christ, not our works’ (Philippians 3:9). Furthermore, we know that Christ bore all our sins of the flesh at the Cross once and for all time (Hebrews 10). So, Paul disobeying the Holy Ghost by going to Jerusalem was not the cause of him not ‘able’ to calm the storm.

While on the ship in the storm, Paul was visited by and angel that assured him all on board would be saved. The angel could have easily said, “Paul speak calm to the storm”, but the angel did not. This is not because Paul didn’t have the power or authority or belief to do so; it was because God didn’t instruct Him to calm the storm—it is not a requirement of God to calm storms. Just as it is not a requirement of Him to eliminate persecution in our lives (which actually is a promise that we will be persecuted). This is what Jesus said:

Mark 10:29-30
So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.”

Likewise, Jesus didn’t need to calm the storms He was in. Let’s look how He handled the literal storms He was in—both when He was asleep on the boat, and the other where He walked across the water in the storm.

Jesus had the Spiritual Gift of foreknowledge. When Jesus climbed aboard the boat, the Holy Ghost could have easily told Him about the upcoming storm they were going into. But yet, He did not speak ahead of the journey to quiet the storm. Nor did His Father say He must. He climbed in and fell asleep. Then the storm hit.

Mark 4:35-41
On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

Jesus was not planning on waking up to calm the storm; Jesus was calm in the storm. And this is the key! Storms will always come, but it is our reaction to them that matters the most.

It was only because of the fear of the crew that Jesus actually calmed the storm. The boat was never going to sink. Jesus said let’s climb in and “go to the other side” …He did not say, let’s climb in and “drown in the middle of the lake”. Jesus was assured in His own words that they would get to the other side. If the disciples (crew) fell asleep like Jesus, they would have ridden out the storm and arrived safely on the other side as Jesus said they would.

And when Jesus sent His disciples across the lake without Him, the disciples knew they were headed into the storm. This is why they argued with Jesus about going without Him. But Jesus told them He would meet them on the other side, not “drown in the middle of the lake.”

Matthew 14:22-33
Immediately Jesus constrained His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

And when the disciples were in the middle of the storm not making any headway, along walks Jesus to meet them on the other side. Jesus didn’t plan on getting into the boat (Mark 6:48), He was doing what He said about meeting them on the other side. It was only after the disciples called Him (again like the previous time) that Jesus turned and went to them.

Jesus didn’t calm the storm when they called Him or when He saw them. The storm kept raging even as Peter stepped out of the boat. There was plenty of time for Jesus to calm the storm, but once again, Jesus was calm in the storm. And it was only after Jesus got in the boat that the storm vanished, and they found themselves transported to the other side of the lake (John 6:21).

So, it’s not about us making the storms of life go away, storms are a matter of life (they will always happen, both literally and personally). And I believe Paul understood this—as Paul was used to persecution and plenty of personal storms. Just as the Lord didn’t remove Paul’s horrible persecution by the silversmith (his thorn in the side), so does the Lord not have an obligation to remove the storm; nor commands us to remove the storm.

There will be times when He tells you to speak against the storm, but it is down to a matter of personal relationship through hearing what the Spirit says. If He says, “Be calm in the storm”, then do so. And if He says, “Calm the storm”, then do so too. Listen to the Holy Ghost about the storm. Sometimes you will go around it, sometimes through it, and other times defeat it. But in ALL cases, the Lord is with you. And even if you are disobedient toward God (which we all are religiously every day), you don’t have to worry about not hearing Him or not using His Gifts (which He will never remove from you). For even ‘if you are unfaithful, He remains Faithful’ (2 Timothy 2:13).

So, whatever your situation is now, ask the Lord about it and see what He wants you to do:
  • Be calm in the storm.
  • Calm the storm.
  • Avoid the storm.

God Bless!



Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Reconciliation / Redemption


There are five (5) topics that I want to tackle here, each in their own post:
  • Forgiveness.
  • Reconciliation / Redemption.
  • Righteousness / Justification.
  • Holy / Sanctified.
  • Salvation.

Too often we can group these together when discussing Christ, or being Born-Again, or Salvation; but these are separate words for a reason, for they each mean something different, and each occur separately.

I have addressed much of these topics already throughout my blog, but I am breaking down each one now succinctly in separate blogs.


1.       RECONCILIATION / REDEMPTION

Luke 2:13-14
And suddenly, there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth: peace, goodwill toward men!”

What an amazing proclamation, that God is at peace, and has only good will toward mankind. And He can only have achieved this through Christ Jesus.

All of what the Lord gives to us are Gifts for His created humanity. It is up to us to accept or receive much of what He is Gifting. As we learned in the first part about Forgiveness, He Gifted His own Son (Jesus Christ) as an offering and sacrifice for our sins of the flesh.

1 John 2:2
And He [Chris Jesus] is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

When we accept the Gift of His Son, that remaining Sin of not believing in Him is also forgiven. Our sins of the flesh have been purged, never to be remembered. And because of that, we can free ourselves from a sin-conscience and have a righteous-conscience.
This freeing from a sin-conscience is symbolized through water baptism of a believer:

1 Peter 3:21
The like figure [of Noah’s Ark]: whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

We now will also look at Reconciliation / Redemption and what that looks like Gifted to us as well as part of His Completed work through the Cross, Resurrection, and sending of the Holy Ghost. Much of this I have already tackled in my blog:


What is Reconciliation and Redemption?
Simply put, it is a mutual exchange: in that Christ Jesus exchanged Himself for the world:
Reconcile – G604: apokatallassō
-  to reconcile completely
-  to reconcile back again
-  bring back a former state of harmony

Reconcile – G2644: katallassō
-  to change, exchange, as coins for others of equivalent value
a.       to reconcile (those who are at variance)
b.       return to favour with, be reconciled to one
c.       to receive one into favour

Reconcile – G1259: diallassō
-  to change
-  to change the mind of anyone, to reconcile
-  to be reconciled, to renew friendship with one

Redeem – G629: apolytrōsis
-  a releasing effected by payment of ransom
a.       redemption, deliverance
b.       liberation procured by the payment of a ransom

Redeem – G3084: lytroō
-  to release on receipt of ransom
-  to redeem, liberate by payment of ransom
a.       to liberate
b.       to cause to be released to one's self by payment of a ransom
c.       to redeem
d.       to deliver: from evils of every kind, internal and external


Whom is Reconciled?

When I talk about Reconciliation and Redemption here, I want to make it clear that I am not talking about Eternal Salvation through a person’s belief in Christ Jesus. Being Born-Again through belief is separate from Reconciliation and Redemption—and this is what I want to demonstrate here.

Matthew 5:23-24
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has ought (something) against you; Leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way to first be reconciled [G1259] to your brother; and then come and offer your gift.

Jesus spoke this as part of His “Sermon on the Mount”. When we read about anything Jesus spoke about, we must acknowledge that He did not speak anything He did not see of His Father. And with that, we must know that whatever instruction or way of life we see Jesus say, it is not ever something that God Himself will not do—i.e.: If He commands us to do something, it is because He follows that same exact command; God will never tell us to do something more than what He Himself does.

In Matthew 5:23-24, His instruction is to reconcile yourself to your brother before you sacrifice your gift on the alter. And this is not that you have something against your brother, it is that he has something against you. This is exactly what God the Father sees of the world at that time. Mankind had something against God; so before He sacrificed the Gift of His Son, He went about, through Jesus, reconciling Himself to his brother.

And then, by the Grace of God, through Christ Jesus and the Cross (the Death of His Son) reconciled all (first the Jew, then the Gentile). And did so before we even believed on Him. His sin-sacrifice made us reconciled to Him:

2 Corinthians 5:14-21
For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us [this] ministry of reconciliation, that is: that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us [this] word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, [you are] reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Romans 5:10,18
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more, that being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Therefore, as by the offence of one [Adam] judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [Jesus Christ] the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

Colossians 1:19-20
For it pleased the Father that in Him [Christ Jesus] should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

Ephesians 2:14-16
For He [Christ Jesus] is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.

Hebrews 1:3
[Christ] being the brightness of [God's] glory, and the exact reproduced image of His nature and being, so upholding all things by the word of His power; when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down by the right hand of the Majesty on High.

Hebrews 10:10,12
By [His] will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Moreover, this Man [Christ Jesus], after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.


So what does this all look like in reality and the world in which we live?

In reconciling the world to Himself through everything that Christ Jesus completed, God gave all people equal opportunity to come to Him. There is no excuse against us to believe on Him into Salvation—He eliminated an “us and them” mentality, that He cannot treat anyone different from anyone else (either as a believer or unbeliever). This is what is called God being “no respecter” of persons.

Acts 10:34
Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.

Romans 2:11
For there is no respect of persons with God.

James 2:1
My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.

This too is how Paul could say he saw no one after the flesh—he only saw what He saw from God…who they were to God the Father. How can we determine a person by their actions of the flesh when that person, and you, and myself, have each been completely forgiven of our sins of the flesh.

In my upbringing in a religious church and family environment, I learned how to be judgmental of others because I was very judgmental of myself. As a religious Christian, I personally would strive not to sin…to do my personal best to “be like Christ” as I had been taught. This striving of moral perfectionism (which I didn’t realize at the time was just my attempt at self-righteousness) allowed me to see what sin I wasn’t committing, and then point the finger at those who were committing that sin I wasn’t.

The problem was when I ended up sinning in those things I saw others do; all-the-while hiding my own sins in a nice religious façade. My life (soul and body) was a mess because of it. I never had the Holy Spirit’s peace about it, and always feared God’s wrath upon me for any and all sins—especially the ones I deemed worse than others.

Yet when I got freed from religion through understanding God’s Grace and being Baptized in the Holy Ghost, the Lord showed me how much He Loved others and me in any and all the sins I would commit (and continue to commit). My sins would never be a hinderance to how much God Loves me (and for anyone as well). He could never leave me nor forsake me because of sin—and how could He, He Himself removed all them from me; even before I committed any. He equalized humanity.

This is why He cannot treat anyone according to their actions, only what Christ did for all humanity. This gives all people the chance to come to Him in belief. For an unbeliever, He treats them the same as a believer; reserving final Judgement of the unbeliever until after they die; giving a person their entire life to choose Him.

For me, this was difficult to see in my religious state. I expected God’s wrath to manifest in other people’s lives from their sins (against me or not). I used to believe, as some pastors preach, that the hurricane that struck New Orleans was God’s wrath against their debauchery; or that any natural disaster is God punishing a nation or a people. But that cannot be true, for neither God, nor Jesus, is currently Judging anyone now!

John 12:44-50
Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

This is why we see sin in our own life and the lives of others go ‘unpunished’ by God. Even though, when I saw something bad happen after I personally sinned, I thought it was God’s vengeance on me. But the one rarely had anything to do with the other. The only coincidence would be because of “reaping what I sowed” (Galatians 6:7-8).

This brings up Ananias and Saphira (Acts 5:1-11)—did God kill them? No!

God (the Holy Spirit) was not the one responsible for their deaths. They (Ananias & Sapphira) were. They gave up / yielded up their own spirits.

Acts 5:5a
And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost.

Acts 5:11a
Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost

This “giving up the ghost” is in the same form as what Jesus did, knowing that no one killed Him, but that He Gave His own life (John 10:17-18).

John 19:30
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”, and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

It does not specifically say what caused Ananias and Saphira to give up their ghost, but for me: their guilt-ridden sin-conscience (under the Law) was so strong, that when they found out they were discovered, their life failed them and they gave up their own ghost (spirit). They had a literal fear of God because they had yet not been set free (accepted freedom) from the Law or a sin conscience in their own personal lives.

So no matter what disaster we see or what people may wrongly die, it is not of God. God cannot and will not reprimand us for any sins. To some, this is unfathomable, as it suggests that it will give people a license to sin.


Obscenity of the Gospel

This is how "scary" the truth of the Gospel is, and the "obscene" accomplishment Christ did through the Cross: that all the sins of the flesh were and are forever taken away from us. So abundantly taken-away from us that Paul writes that we are actually free to do anything we want (ANYTHING--whether of sin or of faith); all without fear of God's judgment or wrath! And he wrote it twice:

1 Corinthians 6:12
All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

1 Corinthians 10:23
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

How could Paul write such a "controversial" statement if he was not absolutely sure that all sins are done away with and Christ bore the punishment for all those sins for us.
This too is how we must not see (perceive or judge) a person in the flesh--that is, in the deeds of their flesh or their sins or actions. And he is not talking about believers only, but all people: believers and non-believers whom God has reconciled to Himself through Christ.

Thus, if God has reconciled the entire world to Himself through the one-time accomplishment of Christ, not holding any kind of sin or misdeed of the flesh against any human; then how can we hold sins against others or ourself?

If sin cannot be an issue with God, why do people and churches and doctrines focus so much on sin? Fear!

They fear sin--of their own or others. Yet fear is not of God..."I have not given you the spirit of fear, but of peace and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7). To have that peace is to have a clear conscience out from sin (having a righteous conscience).

Does this freedom give us a license to sin then? Absolutely! Paul even says we can abuse that Grace, yet we should not:

Romans 6:1-2
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Yet, when you understand how free you've been set free by; and Loved without fear of reprisal or punishment, then you naturally end up not sinning. Christ made us dead to sin and the Law! The strength of sin is the Law (a sin conscience). The strength of the Gospel sets one free from wanting to sin.

For sin is not beneficial to us (expedient per the verses above); but faith is: “Build yourself up in the most Holy Faith” (Jude 1:20). But we must never forget that our sins have all been cleared form our lives!

To understand how forgiven we all are all, and how free from the punishment of God we are now, just look at how people like Hitler or events like the Crusades or the Cambodian killing fields exist. If God still punished people for their sins, then He would have had ample reason to punish or kill Hitler and others before the violence became what it was.
God didn't "allow" those things to happen, He had no ability to interfere because of Jesus Christ's complete accomplishment of eternal sin-sacrifice for all people’s flesh sins. Nor does God violate a person’s free will to do such things or be deceived in following them. To have punished Hitler (or even been the one to kill Ananias and Sapphira) would have been to reject His own Son's accomplishment of full forgiveness of all mankind's sins of the flesh.

When we learn to let go of sin, we learn to Love others as Jesus demonstrated that Love (not judge others or ourself). The more we focus on sin, the more we get caught up in sin. The more we sin, the more we can fear God. The more we fear God, the less we tend to have relationship with Him. And the less we have relationship, the less we experience His Life!

This is the freedom Christ came to set us free from: sin. Once and for all time, forever and forever (Hebrews 10). And not only did He do that for me personally, but for the entire world.


No Longer a Fallen World

These forgiven sins of the flesh, and this reconciliation, has taken away the Fallen State of this world which resulted from Adam’s (and Eve’s) disobedience and curses placed on this world from their actions. Creation has been reconciled (Colossians 1:20). For when Christ Jesus sacrificed Himself, it included the whole world: not just mankind or a selection of humans, the entire world:

John 3:16-17
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

1 John 2:2-3
And He [Christ Jesus] is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

I was writing a Facebook post a few years back, and as I was typing, the Holy Ghost stopped me as I was typing “Fallen World” in reference to the current world we live in. It was so abrupt, I didn’t even finish typing it. And in that moment, He said “Redeemed World”. It shook me, but in an instance, my view of reality changed. No longer was I a victim of a “Fallen World” but a victor in a “Redeemed World”.

Too often, as I did, we tend to chalk things up to being in a Fallen World. We think that this is just the way it is thanks to Adam. But in doing so, I neglect something Christ Jesus took care of for me and for all mankind—that Christ Jesus restored what Satan took from Adam; we now have our authority back. For everything that is a result of their disobedience (iniquity / sin) is no more. That fallen world state has ceased to exist because of Christ Jesus. The curse is removed and the “prince of this world” has been judged and cast out:

John 16:7-11
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth, that it is to your advantage that I go away. For if I do not go away, the Helper [Holy Ghost] will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world: of Sin (because they do not believe in Me), of righteousness (because I go to My Father and you see Me no more), and of judgment (because the ruler of this world is judged).

John 12:31
Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.

Neither the Devil nor the curses of the world have a strength—and if I see them having and affect in my life, I know deception is afoot.

When we live in a mindset that it is still a Fallen World, or that the Devil still has power, we hold on to a “defeated” belief. But when we have a mindset of living in a Redeemed World, we stand above defeat and can stand in rest.
  • Christ took care of sins.
  • Christ took care of sickness and disease.
  • Christ took care of the world’s curse.
  • Christ took care of defeating Satan.

For me, I did not understand how elevated the Lord made me through the defeat of Satan; and I am still learning to change my mind on things I believed before. But I have come a long way from a life “waiting for heaven to come”. I could now Live a Life on this earth in their Love and Authority and Holy Spirit! Their Kingdom of Heaven is now (not to come). And as a believer, filled with the Holy Ghost, I became as powerful as Him!

When I understand not only what Christ has done for me as a believer, but also done for unbelievers, things become simplified and far less overwhelming. And this helps when I am able to minister to unbelievers—for I know I do not have to do any conquering of my own (in my own faith) to be able to help a person into belief.

And because Christ did, I can rest in just opening up the Holy Ghost to a person, heal them, cast out devils, and more without worry. Demonstrating God’s Love for them. I no longer see a “sinner” but see the Love God has for anyone!

Moreso too, I can minister to believers that nobody needs to live a defeated life as I used to!

We, must never see one’s self or anyone else as being a result of living in a Fallen World; this is a lie and a deception and takes away what Christ has accomplished, as well as His authority given to us. And never use "Fallen World" as an excuse for not overcoming your situation and that of anyone else. We live in a Redeemed World!

Romans 3:21-26
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God had set forth as a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He is Just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Romans 5:6-21
For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—(For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 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. But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ).
Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
Moreover, the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Hebrews 9:26
For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath He [Christ Jesus] appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

1 Peter 1:18-19
knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

So I will repeat: no longer is this a Fallen World in which we live—it is a REDEEMED WORLD! All humanity was under the curse of Adam before the Cross; but after the Cross, we are all under the blessing of Christ Jesus. We were sinners under Adam, but now reconciled under Christ.

How wonderful of a Gift it is towards all mankind to say we have been given back our authority lost by Adam.


Where Does This Take Us?

We, as believers, must let the world know this complete (completed) reconciliation as His “ambassadors”:

2 Corinthians 5:20-21
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, [you are] reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

This is why is it important to understand Christ’s sacrifice of Himself for all sins of the flesh, and this exchange of Himself for Reconciliation / Redemption, because this sets us free from any hindrance to come to Him in belief—no more having a sin-conscience, and no more living the lie that we are stuck under Adam’s curse, or victims of the Devil’s work.

We can then look and see that we don’t have to do any work to get to God or make ourselves self-righteous in His sight before He accepts us. He accepts us now to come to Him because of what He Himself did as a Father through the Completed Work of Christ Jesus. There is nothing we can add to that Completed Work, and we can now see that my self-righteousness is but dung compared to the Righteousness of Christ—a Righteousness now Gifted out unto everyone to accept!

And this Righteousness is what we will tackle in the next post as we transition into believing in Him.