Back to the Goodnews

Back to the Goodnews

 

Reflections

 

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord.  (2 Cor 3:18)

 

 

 November

 

 

 

By David A. DePra

 

 

 

Nov01

Does God Harden the Heart?

Nov02

Pharaoh and Judas

Nov03

About Extrabiblical Revelation

Nov04

The Baptism of John

Nov05

Is the Kingdom Taken by Force?

Nov06

Crossing the Jordan

Nov07

Faith Unto Trouble

Nov08

The Solution for the Impossible

Nov09

Christ, the Power of God

Nov10

Living From Christ

Nov11

The Ages to Come

Nov12

Asking in Prayer

Nov13

In the Name of Jesus

Nov14

The Anointing

Nov15

Spirit and Truth

Nov16

Of God or Man?

Nov17

Justification by Faith

Nov18

God’s Redemptive Desire for All

Nov19

The Seed of Abraham

Nov20

The Circumcision

Nov21

How to Know Jesus Christ

Nov22

Eating and Drinking Without Reverence

Nov23

Judging Ourselves

Nov24

Judgment vs. Condemnation

Nov25

Judgment vs. Affirmation

Nov26

Under the Mighty Hand of God

Nov27

Casting Your Care

Nov28

Resisting the Devil

Nov29

To Christ Be Dominion

Nov30

The Power of Deception

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 1

Does God Harden the Heart?

 

He has mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardens. (Rom 9:18)

 

     We are accountable before God only for the light and Truth that He gives us.  But make no question about it – we ARE accountable for the light given.  Once we see the Truth, we cannot ever be the same ever again – we will either receive it and be set free, or we will harden our hearts against it and be in greater darkness.  We cannot go back.

 

     This principle explains much – and clears up some confusion in a number of cases in scripture.  For example, the Bible says, “God hardened Pharoah’s heart.” (Ex. 9:12)  This statement, and the discussion in Romans 9, have been used to try to prove the false doctrine of unconditional election – that God elects many to damnation, and thus, wills the hardening of their hearts.  No.  

 

     God desires that all men be saved and come into the knowledge of the Truth.  (I Tim. 2:4)  But if a person, like Pharaoh, continually refuses that light, his heart will become hardened against God.  But this does not mean that God will stop trying to convict that person.  Rather, God will keep convicting, and keep bringing light and Truth.  In a sense, it can be said that God is hardening them, because God will not stop convicting them even if He knows they will harden themselves.  What else is God to do?  There is only ONE TRUTH and ONE WAY.  God’s ONE purpose is unto that end for that person, even if they spend a lifetime hardening themselves against Him.

 

    The Truth that God intends to set us free will judge us if we refuse.  The grace He intends to soften our heart will act as the agent that hardens them – if we refuse.  Indeed, final condemnation is the result of a continual refusal of the Truth that God brings.  What is the solution, that He not bring it?  No.  God is going to push and push and push until each person decides one way or another.  There is not going to be any fence-sitting.  Thus, God brings the Truth.  But He doesn’t choose.  We must choose. 

 

 

 

Nov 2

Pharaoh and Judas

 

For the scripture says unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised you up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.  (Rom 9:17)

 

     Is God unjust to give light to those whom He knows will refuse it?  Pharaoh or Judas may have claimed they would have never been able to refuse light had God not given them light.  But God has only one purpose for us all.  Thus, He must give light regardless of what He knows we will choose.  Christ died for all and it is through Him alone we are saved.  Thus, God must reveal to all His Son.  We are accountable even though God knows ahead of time what our choice will be.



Nov 3

About Extrabiblical Revelation

 

From a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (2 Tim 3:15-16)

 

     Knowing what the Bible says – that alone cannot save us.  Indeed, it cannot form Christ in us.  But the Bible can make us, “wise unto salvation” – directing us to, “faith which is in Christ Jesus.”  There are Christian folks who are under the delusion that if they know all the right doctrines that this will make them right with God.  There are those who think that if they learn teachings about Christ that this is equal to learning Christ Himself.  But Paul, within the great epistle to the Ephesians, which contains much teaching about the eternal purpose of God, and the Body of Christ, does not tell them that the key for them is to memorize his epistle and form from it a statement of faith.  Instead he tells them, “I cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;  That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.  (Eph 1:16-18)  In short, Paul wanted them to read what he wrote.  But he knew only God could show them what it meant through an inward revelation of His Son.  This is not extrabiblical revelation.  It is revelation that the Bible itself tells us God wants to give us.

 

     More and more people today are claiming extrabiblical revelation.  Some of it is preposturous, and some is demonic.  But there is no revelation God will ever give, and nothing that He will ever do, that is not in the Bible – at least in principle.  Thus, even though Paul is here talking about revelation from God to a person, that revelation is fully at one with what is found in His Word.

 

 

 

Nov 4

The Baptism of John

 

For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.  (Acts 1:5)

 

     There are a number of times in the NT where the baptism of John is contrasted against the baptism with the Holy Spirit – thus, they are not the same.  John’s was a baptism under the Old Covenant for the remission of sins – in anticipation of the One who was yet to come.  Jesus said until He ascended that the Spirit of God would never been IN anyone, but only WITH them – and thus we see that John’s baptism was not unto the new birth.  It was after the ascension, in Acts 2, that the baptism of the Holy Spirit took place for the first time.  The baptism with the Holy Spirit IS the baptism into Christ – through which Jesus Christ comes to dwell within the believer, and the believer comes under the power of all that Jesus is, and all that Jesus has done. 



Nov 5

Is the Kingdom Taken by Force?

 

From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.  For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.  (Matt. 11:11-13)

 

     The kingdom of God is the rule of God.  It is not a place over which God rules, but is the rule of God itself.  Jesus is the King.  Today His life is in us – and all that He governs in us and through us is His kingdom.

 

     This is a much misunderstood passage, mostly because we have assumed that to, “take the kingdom by force,” is a good thing.  But the kingdom of God cannot be taken by force.  It is cannot be TAKEN at all.  It is RECEIVED solely by the grace of God in Jesus Christ.  You will note that the time frame wherein people were trying to take the kingdom by force was, “from days of John the Baptist until now.”  Thus, these attempts were entirely BEFORE Jesus died, was raised, and ascended.  Jesus is not talking about those who are born from above.  He was referring to all of the human effort to bring to pass God’s kingdom. 

 

     To take any kingdom by force means you must overthrow and defeat the King of that kingdom.  But who is the King of the kingdom OF God?  Jesus.  You would therefore have to overthrow Him to take the kingdom by force.  In short, this is not a good thing, but a terrible thing.  Thus, rather than try to take the kingdom of God by force, people are supposed to surrender to Christ and His kingdom.

 

 

 

Nov 6

Crossing the Jordan

 

Behold, the ark of the covenant of the LORD of all the earth passes over before you into Jordan….As soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap.  (Josh 3:11,13)

 

     Israel came OUT of Egypt through a body of water.  The parting of the Red Sea required a miracle.  There was no other escape for them. Israel also entered INTO the promised land through a body of water.  But although the parting of the Jordan was a miracle, they could have crossed over the Jordan easily without a miracle.  The Jordan was not that wide.  But God forbade it.  Crossing the Jordan had to be by HIS hand.

 

     God is showing us that He must lead us into the inheritance, that is, it is by His working in us through Christ that we are in the inheritance.  But it is also possible to enter into the land, and try to live in there, through human effort.  We can try to take possession of the things of God for ourselves through unbelief.  The story of Israel shows that entering the land without the Lord ends in defeat and deception.



Nov 7

Faith Unto Trouble

 

Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall you encamp by the sea. (Exo 14:2)

 

     On the morning that Israel departed from Egypt, Pharaoh pursued them and trapped them by the Red Sea.  They had no way out.  Often lost in this story is the fact that they found themselves in this impossible situation – one that required a miracle of God.  But they got into this trouble – NOT through disobedience, but through obedience.  God had given them specific instructions as to where to encamp and they had obeyed Him.

 

     Faith in God will very often lead us into such situations.  We will obey Him thinking that it will help us avoid trouble.  Yet often obedience to God guarantees trouble.  God will lead us into situations that are too much for us.  But He does this so that we might lose ourselves to Him in faith.

 

     There is an obvious difference between trouble that is the result of disobedience and trouble that is the result of obedience.  But the solution to both is the same – turn to God by faith.  Paul said, “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.“ (2 Cor 1:8-9) 

 

 

 

Nov 8

The Solution for the Impossible

 

And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day.  For the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.  The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. (Ex. 14:13-14)

 

      What are God’s instructions to His people in an impossible situation?  “Fear not, stand still, see salvation, and then move forward.”  We, “fear not,” by believing and trusting the Lord.  We, “stand still,” in that faith against all the might come against it, and cast doubt upon God’s faithfulness.  And if we do, we will, “see the salvation of the Lord,” which to say, is to see Jesus Christ Himself.  And under the power of all of this, “we move forward and walk with God.”

 

     If we examine this, we will see that it is all about trusting the Lord, so that God can work in us and then for us.  Israel never had to lift a hand to save themselves from Pharaoh.  But once they obeyed God and trusted in Him, the victory was as good as finished.  This principle is all through the Bible – it is not a matter of what I do or whether I have strength.  It is a matter of having my faith in the One who already has won every victory.



Nov 9

Christ, the Power of God

 

Christ, the power of God.  (1 Cor 1:24)

 

     God does not give us power.  He gives us Christ, who IS the power of God – and who dwells in us.  Thus, the key to all power is never found in our natural man.  In fact, power is only possible in Christ if we are weak in our natural man.  Power is not found in what we do, or in what we do not do.  You can obey laws, rules, principles, jump through religious hoops, and study the Bible until you are blue in the face, but in the end, there is only one key to power – faith in Christ, who is the power of God.

 

     If you ask the average believer what the solution is to bondage to sin they will tell you, "obedience." They will say that the solution to sin is obedience to God – and they will assure you that God has given you a thing called, “power to obey Him.”  But wait. The solution to bondage to sin cannot be obedience.  Why?  Because bondage to sin MEANS that I CANNOT obey God.  Sure. Thus, it is folly to say that if I cannot obey God that the solution is that I need to obey God.  Indeed, we must be brought to the place where we are absolutely convinced that we cannot obey God.  Only once we become weak in ourselves, without confidence in ourselves, will we finally realize that there must be a solution – a power – that is found in One other than ourselves. 

 

     That solution is Christ, the power of God, in whose person is His finished work on the Cross, as well as the power of the resurrection.  Our faith must be solely in Him, yes, as the basis of relationship with God, but as the source of all we need to obey Him.  

 

 

 

Nov 10

Living From Christ

 

And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.  (Eph 1:19-20)

 

     We could say that there are two power sources in each believer – our natural man, and Christ.  We will live from out of one or the other – by faith we draw upon either for our living.  This is why the work of the Cross is necessary – we must be made weak in our natural man so that all of our faith might be in Christ, who is the power of God.

 

     God will create one situation after another in the life of the believer that presses us out of meaure – that exposes the lack of life in our natural man.  God isn’t really MAKING us weak, but showing us that we have always been weak.  He is actually showing us the Truth about ourselves.  Of one such experience in his life, Paul said, “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:”  (2 Cor 1:9)  There it is.  Do we want to be guided into all Truth?  Well, this is the Truth – that there is nothing in us by which we can walk with Christ.  But in Christ there is all that we need for living. 



Nov 11 

The Ages to Come

 

Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he has purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.  (Eph 1:9-10)

 

     This passage is telling us that it is the purpose of God to gather all things in Christ – the meaning of which is to glue them all together by the Person of His Son, in the perfect will of God.  Things cannot be gathered or glued within the will of God in any other way.  In fact, God will unglue all else.

 

      The Body of Christ is the first fruits of this purpose, now, in this age.  God is gathering or forming a body that will hold His fullness: “God has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”  (Eph 1:22-23)  But this is all unto an eternal purpose – for the ages yet to come.  It is by Christ through His Body in the ages yet to come that God intends to work out the fullness of His Redemption: “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. (Rom 8:19)

 

     The Body of Christ that is formed in this age is to be an instrument of God’s greater redemption in the next: That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  (Eph. 2:7)  The plan of God is rooted here, in this age, but it has a never-ending, and far-reaching impact.

 

 

 

Nov 12

Asking in Prayer

 

Ask, and it shall be given you.  (Mat 7:7)

 

     What does it mean to ASK God?  That is really the question about prayer, because we would be dishonest to say that God gives everytime we ask.  He doesn’t.  There are many times when God is silent even when we think we have a great need.

 

     Of course, we must ask, “according to His will,” (I Jn. 5:14)  That better defines the meaning.  But it also raises another question:  If we are, “to ask according to His will,” then aren’t we asking God to do what He already wants to do?  Yes, we are.  Then why do we need to ask at all?  Why doesn’t God just do His will without us needing to ask?

 

     God does plenty without us needing to specifically ask.  But TO ASK – according to God’s will – suggests that I fully WANT the will of God -- and God sees I am ready to receive it.  But when am I ready to receive it?  When I am abiding in Christ by faith as my source for life.  Jesus said, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” (John 15:7)  I must ask from OUT OF my relationship with Jesus Christ – and God will provide whatever edifies myself in Him.



Nov 13

In the Name of Jesus

 

     If someone stole your credit card and spend thousands of dollars, “in your name,” would you feel that you were responsible for paying for those items?  No.  And neither would the law hold you responsible.  That is because despite the fact they purchased those items in your name, you never gave them authority to do so.  That is the key when it comes to using, “the name of Jesus,” in any prayer or for any purpose:  We must have authority to do so from Him.  Otherwise, God will not honor what we do.

 

     Simply put, we have the authority to do, “in the name of Jesus ONLY what Jesus would do.”  Nothing more.  But that is not all.  Jesus does not merely hand out such authority to us – because we are a Christian.  A believer has the power of Christ only if Christ, the power of God, is living freely in the believer. 

 

     Read Acts 19:13-15.  Certain Jews tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus to cast out evil spirits.  It was a disaster.  Why?  The evil spirits themselves give the answer: “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”  The principle is this:  God can heal directly -- yet more often He uses His power THROUGH His people.  But if those people are not abiding in the life of the One in whom there is all power, there will be no power.  Why are there few miracles today?  Because power has become a THING.  We rarely even hear about the reality of, “Christ in us;” or, “Christ, the power of God.” 

 

 

 

Nov 14

The Anointing

 

These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.  But the anointing which you have received of him abides in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, ye shall abide in him.  (1 John 2:26-27)

 

     Today many are teaching about, “the anointing.”  They claim that this, “anointing,” is TRANFERABLE.  In other words, if you want to be touched by this anointing, you must go to them.  They claim that God’s blessings flow down to THEM -- and then to us.

 

      But according to John, the anointing is, “received of HIM.”  It is not transferred to you from any person.  And this anointing is not, “a power.”  It is not a visitation of power that enters a TV studio, or church service – and then does things – only to then leave.  You don’t have to hurry up and plug into the anointing of God by calling a ministry or by writing a check – so that you can be blessed before it leaves.  No.  This is a lie.

 

     God’s only anointing is Christ through the Spirit -- received, not through visitations, nor from another person, but through a permanent habitation. You will note that John says, “the anointing abides IN YOU.” – i.e., “Christ in YOU.”  In fact, he says he is writing so that no one can deceive us by claiming otherwise.  But his words have been ignored.  This is exactly the error that is often taught today on Christian TV. 



Nov 15

Spirit and Truth

 

The hour comes and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.  (John 4:23-24)

 

     What did Jesus mean when He said that God must be worshipped, “in Spirit and in Truth?”  He was answering a question.  The woman at the well had just asked Him which was the right place to worship: Samaria or Jerusalem? (John 4:20)  Jesus insisted that the group to which we belong, or the church we attend, or the leader we follow – none of these associations are necessary to worship God.  In fact, there are no material methods or mediators necessary to worship Him.  We have the freedom to personally and individually worship God directly from the heart, “in Spirit and in Truth.”

 

     Worship that is, “in Spirit and in Truth,” is impossible unless it is solely through Jesus Christ by faith.  Christ dwells in us through the Spirit of God and IS the Truth.  My relationship to God through Him as my ONLY Mediator is essential.  I am free from the need of any other mediators – person or church or religious thing – I need none of these to enhance my access to God.  A TRUE worshipper is one who has been MADE TRUE UNTO GOD through a growing knowledge of the Truth Himself, Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

Nov 16

Of God or Man?

 

This people draws near unto me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Mat 15:8-9)

 

     I wonder if we realize the seriousness of these words of Jesus.  He is contrasting what is OF MAN to what is OF GOD.  He is saying that if will teach what is OF MAN as the Truth of God – we do it because our heart that is far from Him

 

     If I present ANYTHING as being from God, but it is really of man, the cause could initially be ignorance.  But ultimately, since God is faithful to seek to guide us into Truth, the cause will be a heart that is far from Him.  We are either going to allow God to adjust us to Jesus Christ in Truth, or we are going to adjust the Truth to fit ourselves – by substituting for the Truth with what is of man.

 

     When what is of man is presented as being of God, and people embrace it, they are deceived.  This can result in false movements, churches, or groups – all the result of a false religious system, based in natural man. The supposed worship that results from the religion of natural man cannot be worship in Spirit and in Truth, for the Spirit of God isn’t in it, nor is it the Truth.  It will be vain worship – that is – worship that is of no effect in edification in Christ.  The only solution is to open up to God the root of the problem – a person is always free to turn his heart back to God for the Truth in Jesus Christ.



Nov 17 

Justification by Faith

 

     The apostle Paul goes to great lengths to explain how God is able to justify – declare as righteous – the sinner through Jesus Christ.  He discusses the moral and legal issues involved.  But all of this teaching is unto this end:  Christ is in us, and because He is in us, He IS our life.  The saint is a new creature IN Christ Jesus.  (II Cor. 5:17)  He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.  (I Cor. 6:17)

 

     Righteousness and life go hand in hand.  God does not simply declare my old man in Adam righteous because Jesus died, and leave it there.  That would impart no life.  Rather, God plants my old man in Adam into the death of Christ.  What is raised is a NEW life – a new life that is the result of us being joined to the Lord in His resurrection.  I am thus declared righteous – justified – because Christ is my life – and He is the righteousness of God.

 

     The doctrine of justification by faith rightly states that because Christ died for us, that if we put our faith in Him, then not only are all of our sins imputed to Him, but all of His righteousness is imputed to us.  This is legally correct.  But there is more.  If we place our faith in Christ, yes, God legally imputes to us His righteousness.  But more than this, God imparts to us Christ Himself.  And since Christ is Life Himself, and THE righteousness of God, His presence in us constitutes OUR life, and OUR righteousness.

 

     God never created human beings to have their own righteousness, any more than He created them to have their own life.  No.  From the start man was to be one with God – living from out of God as his source for all.   Jesus Christ in us is the means.

 

 

 

Nov 18

God’s Redemptive Desire for All

 

Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.  (I Tim. 2:5)

 

     The desire of God for all men is salvation – but more.  He wants all men, if they will embrace Christ and be saved, to come into the knowledge of the Truth.  The knowledge of the Truth is an inward knowing and realization of this same Jesus Christ, who said, “I am the Truth.”  (Jn. 14:6)

 

     There are those who would suggest that the knowledge of God can be mustered up out of natural man – that we all have it in us through birth.  But nothing could be more contrary to the Truth.  Truth is received from above – as is the Life in which the Truth abides.  Jesus Christ is both The Life and The Light, and the only way to receive Him is from the outside of dead spiritual selves INTO the same.  Then we are made alive because He is THE LIFE.  From that point, the Christian life is a forming of Christ within (Gal. 4:19), as God guides us into all of the Truth of Christ.  The One who presence in us constitutes eternal life is the same One we must come to know in Truth.



Nov 19

The Seed of Abraham

 

Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He said not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.  (Gal. 3:16)

 

     Jesus Christ is the, “seed of Abraham,” to which the promises of Abraham pertain – which is the promise of eternal inheritance.  Paul emphasizes that there is ONE seed of Abraham.  Not two, or many.  Jesus is that one seed, and there are no others.

 

     Yet the saints are to be joint-heirs in Christ.  Paul explains, “For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.”  (Gal. 3:26-29)  What we see here is that the saints do not increase the ONE seed to MANY.  Rather, the saints are all IN the ONE seed of Abraham.  All that we can receive is because we are one with Christ – and He has received all of the eternal inheritance.

 

     The plan of God as to inheritance is: The Father, The Son, and all who are IN the Son.  Thus, there is ONE seed of Abraham, Jesus Christ.  But all who are IN Him are one with Him – and thus co-heirs in Christ.  So we see that God has wrapped up all that He has for human beings in His Son, and that it is only as we come into the fullness of Christ that eternal inheritance is possible for us.

 

 

 

Nov 20

The Circumcision

 

For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.  (Phil. 3:3)

 

      Paul is bringing out the spiritual Truth that God was illustrating through the OT rite of circumcision.  He is saying that NT saints are to be, “the circumcision,” because we have had, “our flesh,” cut off – through the Cross of Jesus Christ.  Therefore, we do not worship God through, or by the means of, the flesh – we do not walk with God on the basis of anything about ourselves, but only through Jesus Christ.

 

     “No confidence in the flesh,” means no FAITH in ourselves, or anything about ourselves.  Indeed, the severing of the flesh off that that particular body part illustrated that the Adam race was cut-off.   The Adam race could birth nothing of value.  Indeed, the Adam race was ended in the Last Adam, Jesus Christ.  Through Christ there is now a NEW race – the new creature in Christ Jesus.

 

     “The circumcision,” are those who have seen the Truth.  They take no confidence in their flesh because they know that there is nothing there in which to put their faith.  This results in a rejoicing in Christ because we know we are alive unto God because of Him.



Nov 21

How to Know Jesus Christ

 

     How does one receive revelation from God?  Does reading the Bible impart to us revelation from God in a way that will transform us into the image of Christ?  Reading the Bible is essential – because it contains all of God’s revelation of Himself to man.  But that alone isn’t the way, for some of the biggest heretics read the Bible.  It is entirely possible to memorize the Bible and yet have no faith in Christ.  How about praying?  Also essential.  But people in cults pray and remain deceived.  How about meditation?  Can we sit in a trace, clear our minds, and chant something to God over and over to discover Jesus Christ?  Is, “contemplative prayer,” the answer?  Nope.  Other suggest worship.  It has been wrongly stated that it is during a worship service that God shows up and reveals Christ.  But some of the biggest error is present today among those who have the biggest worship services. 

 

     These are all WAYS people use to try to know Jesus.  But Truth cannot be dragged down from heaven through any efforts of men.  It cannot be absorbed from the pages of the Bible, nor from another Christian.  Neither can we muster up Truth from out of our natural man – there is no Truth in natural man.  And it is likewise impossible, even if we know that Christ is in us, and that HE IS the Truth, to develop some method by which we can draw from Him the Truth.  So what is the way to know Jesus?  There is no WAY – in the sense of a how-to or religious rite -- to know Jesus, because Jesus Christ IS The Way.   If you are saved, Christ is already in you – and if Christ is in you, then the emobiment of all Truth is already in you.  Now you can begin to know Jesus Christ.  But the question remains:  How to we grow to know Him?  The answer is that we must decrase that He might increase.  We must lose our lives in order to find them in Him.

 

      Here is how Paul said he came to KNOW JESUS:  “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,  And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:  That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;  If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”  (Phil. 3:8-11)  Paul came to know Jesus by renouncing his own life – suffering the loss of himself – and being brought down to nothing.  But when this happened to Paul he did not merely grasp true doctrines.  More, he was actually SHAPED anew by seeing Christ – that is – he was MADE TRUE UNTO GOD by the Truth.

 

     If we want the Truth, then we have to renounce all of the UNTRUTH that is in us.  Chief among the untruth in us is that we belong to ourselves; that there is any righteousness in us.  The first thing the light of God is going to do is expose us for who we are, where we are – so that He can deliver us.  Scripture states continually that if we want LIGHT we must have HIS LIFE – and in order to have HIS LIFE, we must lose OUR life.  This is what it means to pick up our Cross daily and lose our life in order to find His.  Prayer and Bible study are not substitues for faith in Jesus Christ.  Indeed, both will absolutely direct us to the Cross as the gateway to life and light in Christ.



Nov 22

Eating and Drinking Without Reverence

 

For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.  For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.  (I Cor. 11:29-30)

 

     The question here is not whether we are worthy – that would be contrary to everything about the grace of God.  Rather, the issue here is whether we ascribe worthiness to Jesus Christ, and what He has done for us, and for the others in the Body.

 

     In the first century, gathering for a meal carried a meaning lost today.  Breaking bread together WAS human fellowship to people of that time.  Thus, when the early believers gathered, they did include an entire meal as expressive of communion in Christ – but the meal did not create their communion in Christ.  Rather, they were celebrating the fact that they were already in communion with Christ based on what He had done for each of them.

 

     In I Corinthians 11, Paul is not talking about a literal meal – although the way they handled the literal meal represented their irreverence for Christ.  He is talking about spiritual communion among those in Christ.  This communion is among those who, by faith solely in Christ, “eat His flesh,” and, “drink His Blood,” – i.e., have internalized Christ; He is IN THEM.  Bring damage or misrepresentation to others regarding HIS LIFE in them -- and you have sinned against Christ.  You have tried to enter into spiritual communion with those in Christ -- without reverence for Christ.  You have brought into communion with Christ that which is not OF Christ, but of the flesh.  No wonder the consequences are so serious. 

 

 

 

Nov 23

Judging Ourselves

 

For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.  (I Cor. 11:31-32)

 

     The meaning of JUDGMENT is found in the root Greek word, which speaks of a discernment, or of a, “finding out.”  Judgment is LIGHT – God always tells the Truth about us – so that we may say the same thing about ourselves (confess) and be made true unto Him.  He must also tell the Truth about any sin, unbelief, and error – so that, having been judged by the Light, we can renounce these and be set free.  Paul is teling us in this passage that if, when God exposes our unbelief, we will agree with Him about it, and give ourselves to Christ, then judgment is already finished on the matter.  We will not need further judgment regarding what is already judged.  All of this is unto redemption.  It is the chastisement of God upon us so that we might walk with Him.  Once we see this meaning of judgment, we will see how the saved can remain saved, and yet be judged of God.  It is all to expose unbelief that we might be restored.



Nov 24

Judgment vs. Condemnation

 

But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.  (I Cor. 11:32)

 

     Judgment begins with LIGHT – God exposes all about us and tells the Truth about us.  We then confess, or say the same thing in agreement with Him.  Jesus Christ IN the saint is THE Light.  If Christ dwells in us, then His presence is going to slowly expose everything about us.  But this is all so that we might lose ourselves to God and have Christ formed in us.  (Gal. 4:19)

 

     When we hear the word, “judgment,” we often confuse it with, “condemnation,” indeed, even the KJV translators sometimes confused the two.  But they are not the same.  As noted, “judgment,” is a matter of God exposing and calling someone who they are.  It is all unto redemption.  If the person has their faith in Christ, that would be a good judgment.  “Condemnation,” on the other hand, is actually a, “judgment AGAINST.”  Condemnation is possible once judgment is refused.  It is not unto redemption because it is the result of refusing all that is unto redemption.

 

     God judges us NOW so that we might not be condemned.  If we came to Christ for salvation we have been judged in the overall sense.  But these two words are also applied in scripture on secondary levels.  If Christian people are walking in unbelief, God will judge – expose it as sin so that they might turn.  If they refuse to turn, their unbelief is condemned, although they are not eternally condemned – for there is no condemnation for those in Christ.  Thank God that He is able to condemn our unbelief and even bring consequences, but as His children, this is all intended for our good.

 

 

 

Nov 25

Judgment vs. Affirmation

 

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?  (I Pet. 4:17)

 

     Jesus did not come to AFFIRM US.  If you listen to many of the popular preachers of today, you would think he did.  People have wrongly interpreted the love of God for us as God’s approval of us.  No.  The fact is, God not only disapproves of all that we are in Adam, but in Christ, the entire Adam race was condemned – and died.  Now, if we want to follow Christ, we must see that worked out in us – we must die in Him by picking up our Cross daily and losing our lives.  (see Matt. 16:24-25) It is because God loves us that He gave His Son to deliver us from what we are in Adam unto newness of life.

 

     God affirms only His Son.  But that is great news for the saint.  It means that if we are in Christ then we are in the One whom God unconditionaly affirms.  This is nothing but another way of stating the Truth of God grace – that God deals with us only on the basis of Jesus Christ.



Nov 26

Under the Mighty Hand of God

 

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.  (I Peter 5:6)

 

     We are never once told in scripture to humble ourselves, submit ourselves, or resign ourselves to anyone or anything but God.  In fact, what we do regarding all else is to be governed first by our personal faith in, and submission to, God.  Thus, if we are in difficult circumstances, we are not to surrender to them.  We are to surrender to God while in them.  If we are dealing with a difficult person – even one in authority – we are not to merely submit to them to keep some, “authority principle.”  We are to submit to God – and our relationship with God will govern what our relationship with them is to be.  In short, we don’t come under, “the mighty hand of God,” by first submitting to circumstances or people.  Rather, we first humble ourselves under HIS hand, and if we do, we will eventually know His will in all things.

 

     To, “humble,” yourself under the mighty hand of God is nothing more than abadoning yourself to Him.  It is a practical losing of your life for Jesus’ sake.  And just as Jesus promised, if we would lose our lives for His sake, we will find life.  This is the exaltation Peter is talking about:  It is the principle of life from death.

 

 

 

Nov 27

Casting Your Care

 

Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.  (I Pet. 5:7)

 

     This could easily read, “Throwing the whole of your life with it’s care upon Him.”  Jesus told us we must LOSE our lives to Him if we wanted to find true life.  (see Matt. 16:24-25)  But that is why it is actually quite impossible to cast your fears upon the Lord without casting the whole of your life upon the Lord.  Why?  Because as long as you hold onto your life you will fear losing it; you will seek to protect it.  It would be silly to think that God will magically remove the fear of losing your life, when in fact, He tells you that He wants you to lose it.  Thus, the solution to fear is to lose yourself to Christ – abandon your life to Him in faith.  It is amazing how quickly fear dissipates when we lose ourselves to God. 

 

     We usually think that the reason for anxiety is that we are losing our lives.  No.  Fear is the result of trying to save and protect them.  Abandon your entire self to the Lord in an unconditional renunciation and the fear that arises from trying to save your life will have no basis.  The old natural life IS the ground of Satan and it is upon that ground in us that he has access.  Lose it by faith to Christ and His victory will be yours.

 

     God will not leave it to us to sort all of this out.  He will show us how to do this and what it means.  This is part of Jesus’ promise that the Spirit of God would guide us into all the Truth.



Nov 28

Resisting the Devil

 

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:  Whom resist steadfast in the faith.  knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.  But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.  Amen. (I Peter 5:8-10)

 

     This passage from I Peter makes it perfectly clear that while we are in a trial of faith, God is fully in charge.  God has us IN the trial, and He will know when our suffering has done it’s work.  That is why we are told to, “humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.”  His hand is there -- under which we might humble ourselves.  We are told God is present with us so that we can, “cast the whole of our life and care upon Him.”  Likewise, we are told that, “the same afflictions,” are doing a work in other brethren.  And finally, we have words like, “in due time,” and, “when you have suffered for awhile.”  All of this points to the fact that we are in this by God’s hand, or His purposes, and not because God has forsaken us.

 

     Note the command, “Resist the Devil steadfast in the faith.”  As was the case with Job in the OT, God will give the devil access to us for the very purpose that we might resist Him.  Why?  So that we might be built in faith – so that we might be matured, established, strengthened, and settled in Christ.  Only a trial of faith can prove faith.

 

      How do we, “resist the devil steadfast in the faith?”  By, “humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God,” by faith – and refusing to move.  All of this is unto the purpose of, “the God of all grace, who has called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus.”

 

 

 

Nov 29

To Christ Be Dominion

   

To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.  Amen.  (I Pet. 5:11)

 

     Jesus Christ, through His Redemption, has won every victory that there is to win, including victory over the ultimate enemy, death.  Thus, Jesus Christ has been given all dominion – over all things.  This reveals to us the Truth about any possible victory that we could experience in the Christian life:  In order to OVERCOME the enemy, we must COME UNDER Jesus Christ as Lord.  In short, we have to surrender to the winning side. 

 

     When we, “humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God,” we are coming under the hand of eternal victory.  Thus, rather than win His victory all over again, we live from out of His victory – standing by faith.  This is why Peter is able to say, “Resist the devil in the faith,” rather than say, “Defeat the devil.”  No.  We are in the victory of Christ by faith and need only resist the Devil by standing by faith in that victory.

 

Nov 30

The Power of Deception

 

For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.  (I John 3:8)

 

     When we are joined to the Lord in spirit, that union IS the new creature in Christ.  But everything outside of that union remains of the old natural man.  You will note that Jesus did not obliterate the works of Satan from the old.  No.  He made a new – in Himself.  For the new creation in Christ, the works of the Devil are destroyed.  But there remains a possibility that Satan could try to get to us through our natural man.

 

      The only power that Satan has today in the life of the saint is that of deception.  Satan will blind us to, or lie to us about, the fact that we have victory in Christ.  But his lies are not merely doctrinal lies.  He can still gain access to us through our natural man – our feelings, emotions, and other dimensions of the soul realm.  He can use these to as vehicles to blind us.

 

     The solution is to know Jesus Christ.  We cannot discern the lies of Satan until we can discern Jesus Christ.  Note John’s words:  “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.  Once Christ is manifested to us, no deception can blind us.”

 

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