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Posts Tagged ‘sin’

Maybe not the most famous, but possibly the most misunderstood, last words are those of Jesus upon the cross.

He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.  (John 19:30)

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What is finished, though?

Most will agree that He was referring to the atonement for sin. The sacrifice of a sinless person paid the penalty for all mankind’s sins for all time. An amazing, awesome thing, and more than enough for us.

Yet the longer I live, the more I get to know Him, the more I see that there is so much more that He accomplished. Here’s what I’ve seen so far:

Curses are finished.

Disease is finished.

Poverty is finished.

Bondage to satan is finished.

Separation from God is finished.

The old man is finished.

Sin is finished.

Death is finished.

Guilt is finished.

Shame is finished.

Condemnation is finished.

* * *

Fellowship with God is restored.

Freedom from bondage is ours.

Righteousness is ours.

So are wisdom, grace, and every fruit of the Spirit.

Because we are born again into His kingdom, a new creation, we are overcomers.

In fact, we are more than overcomers.

Through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are restored to the relationship and position that Adam forfeited in Eden’s garden. Think about that one for a while.

This is the rest we enter into upon salvation!

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In I John 4, we are told that God’s seed remains in us, and we don’t sin! So being a ‘sinner saved by grace’ is hogwash. Demon dung! Yeah, we were sinners, but now we are a new creation, the children of God, perfect and righteous and holy, just as He is. (Another lie bites the dust!)

The redemption of mankind was finished that day on Calvary!

Finished!

Every facet, every part of our being was set free of sin and its effects!

Every!

It’s all done! Complete!

God don’t mess around! When He does something, He does it well, and He does it thoroughly.

So there’s nothing that’s not done, that needs to be fixed by us!

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Why then, do we struggle so much?

Because we don’t understand that it is ALL finished! We think it’s something that’s only partially done, and we have to do the rest by ourselves!

After all, isn’t that what it says in Phil 2:12?

Ah, but Phil. 2:13 …

This ‘working out of our salvation’ is simply learning the truth of His finished work! It is not us changing ourselves. It is us allowing God to work in us to change us, to set us free (which is His good pleasure!).

As this truth of the finished work of Christ becomes real to us, it sets us free!

It changes us into His image, restores us to that position Adam had.

The position we hold from the moment of our rebirth into His family becomes real to us. (It was always real to God.)

Because we live in time, these changes happen over time. But God lives outside of time, and in Him, it’s finished!

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May you be blessed with His truth in your inward man!

May what He has finished become more real for (and in) you!

And may you rest in His completed work!

(I was going to include scripture references for all this but decided it’s too much work. Besides, if you find a truth yourself – with Holy Spirit’s help – it is more real to you. Happy hunting!)

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If you live in an urban area, you might not be too familiar with milestones, but if you live in the country, or have ever taken a road trip, you know that highways are marked every mile. This tells you how far you’ve come, how far you’ve still to go, and where the next exit/gas station/town is.

Every life has milestones, too: the start and end of school, college graduation, getting married, the birth of a child, etc.

And the Christian life has milestones – the day you ‘get saved’, get baptized, the first time you take communion are the obvious ones. But as you look back at your journey farther into God, you’ll find milestones marking other points. These mark times when a truth was illuminated for you in a way that set you free, changed your life.

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Here are a few of mine, in mostly chronological order –

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence – I read this one in high school, and it forever changed my ideas about the Christian life. I saw that we could and should be aware of Him beside us at all times.

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Sometime during high school, too, someone said to me “God is a gentleman. He won’t push Himself on us; He waits for us to ask. Gentleness is one of the fruits of the Spirit.” This was the beginning of my trust in God to not hurt me.

Also during high school, I discovered that we can be honest with God about our feelings! I was reading Psalms, and David was whining, crying, bellyaching, even! He took all his emotions straight to God, whether they were nice ones or not. And if David could, I can! And so can you! (Is that why he was ‘a man after God’s own heart’?)

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Sometime in adulthood, I read Hind’s Feet On High Places, by Hannah Hurnard. That opened up to me the concept that Father God cares about my emotions, especially when they control me, like fear does for the heroine. That was amazing! God really cares? God really cares!

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John 17:3 – not only can we be aware of Him, but eternal life consists of knowing Him! Knowing Him and Jesus, not a bunch of scriptures, or a bunch of rules, or the right things to say and do. Knowing Him in a relationship, not just knowing about Him. Life changing! God actually wants to be known by us, to have a relationship with us!!

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Phillipians 2:13 – lots of people quote verse 12, especially when they are trying to control you through fear. But there is no period between v. 12 and v. 13. They are two parts of the same sentence! When I realized this, I stopped stressing about whether I would ever be able to do His will. In fact, I stopped worrying about whether I’d even want to do His will. This verse says He will work in me to bring me to that place. Gently, patiently, lovingly. Really ‘getting’ this verse set me free to trust Him to work in me what needs to be worked; to teach me what I need to learn; to love me not just in spite of my weaknesses, but maybe even because of them (they are, after all, part of what makes me a unique person).

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Another verse along these lines, but I’m not sure where it belongs in the timeline, is Hebrews 12:2 —  Jesus endured the cross for the ‘joy set before Him’. Okay, I memorized this verse eons ago in Sunday school. So?? So one day He showed me what was the joy set before Him. It was me!! Being able to have a relationship with me (and you, too!) was the joy that enabled Him to endure the cross!!! It wasn’t the joy of beating Satan; it wasn’t the joy of being able to get back to heaven where He belonged; it was the joy of having us as part of the family! What a milestone that was!

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I John 3:9 – this one is a little hard to explain, but was the most freeing of any of my ‘milestones’.

It says that the children of God do not sin, because His seed remains in them. What Father showed me through this verse was that we are no longer sinners after we become His children!! So all that stuff I was taught as a child, about how we are always ‘sinners, saved by grace’, and never worthy to be looked at by God without the ‘filter’ of Christ and His blood, was hogwash!!

While we were yet sinners’ He loved us so much He died for us! Died so we could become the children of God, become a new creation, become His righteousness!! We are not sinners any more!!

Sure, we sin now and then. We mess up. We may even have addictions or bondages in our lives that He hasn’t dealt with yet, which make us look like sinners to everyone around us. But if you are God’s child, His seed remains in you, and you are no longer a sinner!!!! (And you can ‘take it to the bank’ that He will not leave you bound by that addiction, that sin forever. Just be aware that before dealing with a habitual sin, Father God usually deals with the underlying wrong beliefs/feelings of unworthiness/lies of the enemy that have trapped His child in that sin. When those are dealt with, and His child is free to know and love God and him/herself, the addiction/sin is so easy to deal with that it’s sometimes already gone! God always looks at the heart, not the outer actions! And when He heals the heart, the rest of the person gets healed. Neat, huh? God is so GOOD!)

Wow! The guilt and condemnation and shame that set me free from! To know that I am not bound to/by/in my ‘flesh’!! For the first time in my life, I not only could easily study the Bible and pray, but I could do it without guilt! Before this revelation, prayer and study had been huge battles, because the guilt that I wasn’t doing them often enough/long enough prevented me from even trying to do it.

And now, listening to His voice was easier, because I was no longer afraid He would tell me how awful I was. So my prayer life changed dramatically, and then He started the healing process that got me where I am today. Still not perfect, still not completely whole, but His child, His new creation who is more than a conqueror!

I emphasize this because a lot of us, believing that we are ‘sinners saved by grace’, are constantly defeated by the enemy. Why? Because we believe that our nature is not changed, so we are still subject to sin. We live in a war zone of our own making; one where we lose again and again, simply because we don’t understand how completely He defeated satan and how that victory is ours because His righteousness is ours.  But once we understand that we are not sinners anymore, but a new creation, we are free to live the righteousness of Christ! Free to be victorious!

This doesn’t mean we won’t sin. It doesn’t mean we are perfect. In I John 1 is the famous verse that says that if we sin, He is faithful to forgive us when we ask Him. So in I John 3, John seems to be contradicting himself. But he’s not!

We are God’s children. His seed does remain in us. Those are unchangeable facts! We sin because we are unable or unwilling to believe this about ourselves. Unable to believe it because of lies we believe about ourselves or God; unwilling to believe because we don’t want to give up that sin. But neither changes God’s immutable truth – I am His child, therefore I do not sin. And because I am His child, He will work in me to reveal the truth that destroys the lies, and to change my desire for that sin (see Phil. above).

‘Reckon yourselves dead to sin’, Paul says in Romans 6:11. When you grasp this concept with your heart and mind and spirit, not just your brain, it becomes easier to live without sin. If you are dead, then your ‘sin nature’ is dead, too. You no longer feel chained to or by it, so you sin less and less. And as you sin less and less, and fight the phantom battle with your ‘sin nature’ less and less, you will have so much more freedom and strength and power for the real battles of life, for the work Father God created you for, and to reach out to help others.

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Every once in a while, it’s good to stop and look back over the road you’ve traveled. You really don’t know how much farther you have to go, but look how far you’ve come!! And if you take note of those milestones that helped you, you can tell others about them, and help them along their journey.

The safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” C.S. Lewis

May Father God show you the significant milestones along your road, and give you new ones on the road ahead. May you be able to share those important events and revelations with someone else to help them along their journey. And may you find that even what seemed like rabbit trails away from the road, that you feel were failures or sins, were actually milestones where Father God taught you something important.

Vaya con Dios!


P.S. ‘Vaya’ is the command form of the verb ‘to go’. So this is actually a command for you to go with God – you go with Him, not Him go with you. If we obey this command – going with Him, as He directs, not expecting Him to go with us where we want – our lives are so much easier! So that’s my prayer for you as you continue your journey. Vaya con Dios!

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Sounds so spiritual, doesn’t it? In fact, it’s been so ‘spiritual’ for so long, that it didn’t seem very real to me. (Father’s love is very real to me, though.)

But lately, I’ve been contemplating the love that Jesus has for me, and I’m overwhelmed by it!

I have been seeing His love not just in the spiritual sense, but also the human one. After all, Jesus Christ was 100% man and 100% God.  Bringing it down to the human level makes it more real.

When I think of His very human reaction to what He was facing on the cross (and before it, too), it blows me away!

He loved me so much He was willing to suffer like that for the joy of having me as a friend, brother, part of His body and His bride!

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And He loved You that much, too.

Can you feel the intense, even fierce, love He has for you?

He took a beating that often killed men, to give you healing!

He accepted shame when they stripped Him naked and hung Him on the cross for all to see. And He did it because He loves you too much to let you be imprisoned by shame.

He paid the penalty for every sin you will ever commit in your entire life, taking all the guilt and condemnation, so you can be free!

He fought satan himself for you!

This very human God, this God inside a man, loves you so much He even accepted being separated from His Father as He became your sin! Imagine being separated from the other parts of yourself like that – God has been three-in-one from before eternity existed – yet Jesus Christ was cut off from that relationship because He loved you so much!

When I contemplate this fierce lover, I am so in awe that I can only weep, and fall at His feet to offer Him my puny love in return.

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May you be blessed with fresh revelation of the love of our Father, the love of our Savior, the love of our Bridegroom, and any facet you need a revelation of His love  in.

We love Him because He first loved us.  I John 4:19

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The time has come, the Spirit says,
To speak of many things . . .
Of facets and of fractals
And living with the King.

(Okay, I personally hate Alice in Wonderland. It’s too scary and too nonsensical for me. In fact, I’ve always wondered what psychotropic drug Carroll was using when he wrote it. But . . .  the time has come!)

Father God has shown me many things over the years, and He has made it clear that I need to start sharing!

So, here goes . . .

Facets

About 18 years ago, give or take, I had just had a revelation of how much I (me!) am totally loved and completely accepted by the Father, which drastically altered my world view, and changed my whole life.  This caused me to revisit a lot of the things I’d always believed about Him, me, life, etc.

One day, I was thinking about trials and tribulations – why do we go through them? Now, being in church all my life, I’d heard a couple different doctrines on this subject. One said that God was so holy, so pure, and we were so vile, that He couldn’t stand to be anywhere near us. So He had to clean us up by putting us through stuff to get rid of the sin/impurity in us.  (Where is ‘we are become the righteousness of Christ’ in that doctrine???)

The other, similar idea, was that God was putting us on the fire, ‘burning off the dross’, to make us like Christ. This one (actually, they both) had a lot of scripture to back it up, making it clear that we were not clean, or acceptable, in our human condition, even after salvation.  As I said – similar, but without the disgust/dislike of the first one! The focus here was on recreating us into His image, rather than cleaning us up.

But, with my new understanding of just how much Father God loves and accepts us, I was now questioning God’s supposed motives in these doctrines. (I have gradually been made to see that motive is everything – isn’t that the point of Jesus’ words about looking at a woman to ‘lust after her in your heart’ and the rest of that section of Matthew 5?  What the heart motive is, is what counts with Him (I Sam. 16:7).  So I think we need to understand His heart motives, too.)  We all, mostly unconsciously, absorb the underlying motives of what we are taught, ascribing them to God/parents/whoever the authority is in the situation, whether they are true or not.  So now I had to look at what I had previously believed were God’s motives underlying these doctrines.

The first one made it clear that God couldn’t really stand us the way we are, couldn’t even look at us, we were so filthy.  So He had to change us.  I was left with the belief that we were disgusting at the best of times, even after the work of the cross!  This really made me not believe that He loved us, me in particular.  In fact, this left me with the belief that the only reason He hadn’t squished the whole creation into a ball of clay and started over, was some kind of dislike of being wrong.  So He was gonna fix it, and show ’em all!

The second one was a little more charitable – nothing indicated that He didn’t love us, but I sure was left with the impression that He didn’t like us! After all, He thought we needed to be made over into Christ’s image, which sure sounded like He disliked humanity. This didn’t change my basic belief that He didn’t love me, but I was able, finally, to believe that He could, just possibly, love humans in a sort of overall ‘I made it, so I gotta love it’ kind of way.

But neither of these ideas fit with what He had just shown me about His total love and acceptance of us (me!) ‘while we were yet sinners’! And even after!

So, I asked Him, ‘why do we go through trials and tribulations?’

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And He showed me a huge diamond, maybe two stories tall, with me standing in front of it, looking at this facet that was about two feet wide. He said, “When you get saved, you see this facet of me – Savior. But I want you to know more of me, so I allow situations in your life which cause you to see other facets of Me – Healer, Provider, Father, and more.” here I moved a little to one side, and found myself facing a different facet, then another and another. “Everything that happens in your life is an opportunity for you to know me more fully. The trials and tribulations are not to clean you up so I can stand you, but to show you new facets of Me.”  Wow! Yet another false doctrine bit the dust! Yes, Father allows us to go through stuff, but not because He can’t stand us! Because He loves us, wants to help us, but even more, wants us to know Him.

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I can hear you disagreeing! Lots of chatter about holiness, etc. and I’m not trying to nullify those scriptures which talk about cleaning us up. But what He showed me that day was His underlying motive, which always, always, always, is His great unconditional love for us, and His desire to have an intimate relationship with us.  He hates sin because it hinders that, and because it hurts us! If you love someone, you hate anything that keeps them away from you, or hurts them in any way.

What He showed me with the facets on the diamond, was that I need to start looking at the trials and tribulations in my life as opportunities to learn to know my Father and God better!  Not as punishment or as something motivated by disgust of me.

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Over the years He has added to my understanding of this vision:  I saw that as we get to know a certain facet of God – Healer, for instance – it does change us, making us more like Christ.  Eventually, I also saw that as we are changed by getting to know this or that facet of God, we then begin to reflect that facet of Him to others.

Those are just side effects, though, of the real point, which is to know Him!  The more and better we know Him, the more facets He cleans and polishes in us, and the better we reflect Him to the world. (And, trust me, you can’t clean or polish them yourself! It must be His work, through revelation of Himself to you.)

The point is knowing Him!  Everything in the Christian life is based on that, and flows from that.  If it’s based on anything else, it’s ‘wood, hay and stubble’.

So the next time you are facing a trial, instead of wondering what is wrong with you, ask our Father what He wants to reveal of Himself to you through this. The answer will be amazing! And freeing!

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Be blessed with understanding, wisdom, and revelation of more true facets of Him!

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.    John 17:3

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