Friday, July 22, 2016
Well, I answered, only if you think of yourself as the unchanged, old creation, the former creation, and as what you do rather than who you truly are in Christ, a new creation. Then you can you say that you are “a sinner.” You will be wrong, but you can say it. Essentially, you will be in error concerning what Jesus did for you and to you through the cross and resurrection. This error hurts you because, not knowing the cure of Christ, you will misdiagnose yourself and treat yourself as though you are sick. This will become a twisted and sickly caricature of Christianity; while perfectly cured, you will deny your health. You will frustrate yourself by looking for health—freedom from sin—based upon what you do, rather than upon what Jesus did. That won’t work. Never has. What He did is your cure and health, not what you do.
To the error-prone Christians in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote: “knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin (Romans 6:6-7).
So the big question is: “Did God’s cure work for you?” Through Jesus’ crucifixion, was your old self crucified with Him? Was your body of sin “done away with” so that you would no longer be a slave to sin? Since, in God’s thinking, you died with Christ, are you freed from sin? Is what He did your cure, or do you have another diagnosis and prescription? Who is the better Physician—you or God?
If you continue to believe that you are an unchanged, old creation and an old sinner-self, and that salvation “only” rescued you from sins and guaranteed you for heaven, your diagnosis will be wrong, because you will not believe the gospel and enjoy the perfect health benefits of the cross and the resurrection for you. One was for your sins, and the other was for your new life. Those in Christ are no longer “sinners” by nature, since through the crucifixion and being included in that, they’ve had a change of nature in Christ and now share in the Father’s. They are saints by nature, holy sons in fact, and already citizens of heaven—free from sin, as is everyone in heaven.
You cannot have dual citizenship. You are either born of this world and are of it, or you are born of heaven and are of it—alien to this world, and representative of heaven. Which one are you?
I love my citizenship and how I got there through the cross and resurrection with Jesus. I’ve never felt better about sin than after I knew the truth about the cross and resurrection and my being included with Christ. In Christ, I have died already, and sin has no power over me. In Christ, I have been healed and raised, and my nature is righteous—through and through. How about yours?
I hope this helps.
(This is a transcript of yesterday's video, "Sin Stuck or Sin Freed," and is for those who might rather read than watch. To see the video, click https://youtu.be/NSZcqe9hmCE, or scroll down this blog.)
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
For example, very often when couples are searching and working diligently on ways to better love each other, what they’re really seeking is the result of Jesus loving them. They can have that anytime. They’re both set up for that perfectly. There is no other earthly relationship better suited for Jesus in us than marriage. And no matter how long they’re married, the set up is the same. When people want to have better relationship skills, what they’re really looking for is the result of Jesus relating to them. He will affect every relationship they have when they’re satisfied with Him. When people are wanting to be more confident, more compassionate, more understanding, more kind, more disciplined, more patient, more happy, more faithful, more peaceful, more gentle, all are the result of Jesus loving and giving Himself in them. That’s Christianity. When they’re knowing The One, they’ll have everything else. He will see to it.
That they’ve not experienced God’s life for them in that way does not make the hope of it untrue, but it might induce them to believe it’s not possible—and off to work they go. So, because God doesn’t have to agree with their form of Christianity, He will work with them in such a way that what they know and experience with Him will pour out of them to others—as if by accident. (But not quite!) And Jesus will become their great treasure and influence of life. The One! That’s the plan.
Galatians 2:19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Saturday, July 09, 2016
Colossians 3:9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Monday, July 04, 2016
Saturday, July 02, 2016
However, only with Jesus is the opposite actually true. That took a while for me to figure out.
I didn’t want anything to do with Jesus when I was in my late teens and early twenties because I knew what giving away authority and freedom meant. I had seen it and studied it in college, and found that history shows the surrender of authority and freedom in the hope of gain is a terribly false hope with tragic consequences. Frankly, I think we’re on that path in America—I can see it. Naturally, I thought then that giving Jesus authority in my life meant the same thing, only cosmic. BIGGER equals WORSE. Way worse. So, naturally and wisely, I thought, I avoided Jesus . . . until I couldn’t. More accurately, until I didn’t want to anymore.
In sum, Jesus is The Great Contradiction to what I’ve found true in this world that competes for authority and freedom—including yours. Jesus has never taken mine away. Never. Not once. Instead, He has given me all of His. What a contradiction.
I have never felt that Jesus was trying to over-rule me or dominate me or take away what I am. From the day that I received Him, my days have been all about discovering what I have received instead of what I’ve lost. Here’s what I’ve found. Jesus actually IS freedom, and He exercises His authority to make sure that I have freedom and that I and enjoy it. Anything less than freedom is not the Jesus I know. I love Him for it! All that He is to me and all that He has for me is the antithesis and the antidote for what passes for authority and freedom in this world. That is why I hope and that is why I work for you to find the same with Him.
I think that when people look to a national or worldly government to find this, or to the government in their church gathering, the government over their employment, the government in the clubs and organizations they join, they’re lost and they’re going to act like it—How can they not?—because they’re maddeningly searching in the wrong place. They’ve been detoured. It will always be terribly painful and disillusioning. Fortunately, Jesus offers himself as the end of the search:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (And these weren’t people who were only burdened by their own problems, but by the government over them.) Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (Parenthesis mine.)
Right now when many of us are at least somewhat focused upon the kind of leadership and government we want for ourselves, Jesus says and proves, “I am.” And I can tell you, He is. He is the great contradiction you need.
(This is the transcript of the video, “The Great Contradiction You Need,” and is for those who might rather read than watch. To see the video, click https://youtu.be/Pi0nnFcWRxc.)
Friday, July 01, 2016
Got 5 minutes? Here’s why I avoided Jesus for a lot of years. It has to do with authority and freedom—and the threatened loss of it—all of which is very relevant to many of us celebrating the breakaway and independence of our country this weekend.