Posted by: forfreedomalone | 17/01/2019

Do you know the price?

The following is a response to comments made elsewhere. Each quote at the head of each reply is a section of a whole comment made by someone who was very confused about the whole story of the Cross. Her confused comments were approved by her ‘minister’ and that troubled me more than the comments themselves.

I was told that this MAY be of benefit to others so I am posting it here also.

“For God to abandon Himself spiritually He would be setting an example of forsaking us spiritually.” Have you actually thought that comment through? God took upon himself all the pain and suffering of sin, so that, when we believe he has done this for us, he will NEVER have to abandon us. It is precisely for the opposite reason to your argument that he suffered. God the father abandoning his son was absolutely necessary in order that sin would be removed from the picture for us. Bear in mind also, that Isaiah 54 tells us that this abandonment, essential though it was, was for but a moment. “In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.” The father did not abandon the son to the depths of Sheol or hell or anywhere else, he abandoned him, in his moment of suffering, when he could have reached down and saved him from it and, thereby, ensuring that we would have to pay the penalty of sin ourselves.

“He promises never to leave or forsake us”
How is this possible? It is possible because he abandoned Jesus, for a moment, on the Cross, so that he would become sin and thereby pay the debt of all mankind.

“How I could trust a God who killed Himself. Sounds like suicide of sorts”
Let’s look at that backwards. I take it you have little, if any, experience of suicide or para-suicide? Those who attempt suicide are utterly self orientated. Their desire to die is about them and their inability to live the life they have. Frequently para-suicides will tell you that they felt so-and-so would be better off without them, but once you dig a bit deeper they will reveal that it was the guilt, shame or pressure of living for or with so-and-so which was the real reason they wanted to die. There was nothing suicidal about the Cross. Jesus did not commit suicide, he laid down his life. What he did was more akin to what the diver who died, last summer, in the cave in Thailand did. He went into a situation to rescue someone else and it cost him his life. In Jesus’ case he knew it would cost him his life and he willing gave it up, but it was all about YOU, not for one second about HIM.

How could you trust a God who did this?
Surely, the real questions is, how could you not?
This God, unlike any other god ever known, laid down his life so you could live. This father sacrificed his son, so you could live. But the sacrifice is only the beginning of the story. The church is obsessed with the cross and forgets that the point of the cross was the resurrection. It is because God allowed his son to die that that same son could be resurrected, to new life, sinless and able to stand before the father, victoriously interceding for you. Without the cross there could be no resurrection and without the resurrection there is no new life. How could you NOT trust such a God?

“Jesus did not take the unholiness of sin into His Spirit. That is impossible”.
If he did not, then you, and all of us, are in real trouble, because no one else was or ever will be able to take sin in their spirit to Azazel. Have you ever read the story of the scapegoat in Leviticus 16? This goat was not sacrificed, it was sent, bearing the sin of Israel, to Azazel. All sin will be attributed to him but all sin had to be taken to him and deposited there. Sin is a spiritual issue, it had to be taken, spiritually, to Azazel and the only one who could do that was the perfect goat…..Jesus.

“He took it in His body on the tree. The shedding of blood is for the forgiveness of sins”
Yes, he took sin in his body on the tree, but if that is it, then sin hung on that tree until they took his body down and that was the end of that. What was achieved by that? Nothing. Where did it go once he was dead? If that were so, sin was still in between God and his people, the scapegoat had gone nowhere and Azazel was not held responsible for all sin.
The shedding of blood was indeed for the forgiveness of sins, but what does that mean, how did it happen?It happened because by Jesus shedding his blood, as the goat of sin offering, he stood in your place and God was able to forgive your sin; that is, send it away from himself. The blood had to be sprinkled on the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for the people of God. Jesus had to do this on the mercy seat of the Ark in heaven. THIS is how the split blood brings about forgiveness. The fact that physical blood flowed from his side on the cross is not how you are forgiven, it is because his blood was placed on the mercy seat in heaven. THIS is the Day of Atonement fulfilled in the spiritual.

“Father God would not forsake anyone, he is the God of ALL comforts”
It is because of all of this; the abandonment of his son (WHAT a price God paid for you and me!!!), the physical suffering of Jesus, the going to Azazel and laying sin upon him and the cleansing of the Holy of Holies in heaven; that we are able to approach the God of all comfort and be comforted. He comforts us because HE has overcome, he now calls us also to overcome.
The price of the cross TO GOD was HUGE and the humanistic view taken by the church reduces it dramatically. We need to know just how much it cost to redeem us. We need to stop sanitising it and whitewashing it with cotton wool words to make us feel less traumatised by the whole subject. The whole three days and three nights of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus cost heaven dearly and we need to know just how much it cost if we are ever to know just how precious we are to God.

As the church struggles with identity and endlessly goes on about “knowing who you are in Christ”, this is the point they are missing. You need to know the unbearable price which was paid for you, who paid it and why. You need to be face to face with the earth shattering reality that Jesus was willing to pay such a price, for something of which he was totally innocent and his father was willing to give up the son, the only son, whom he loved, FOR YOU. If that doesn’t reduce you to tears and cause you to fall on your face in worship, I don’t know what will.

Posted by: forfreedomalone | 17/01/2019

Flatulent fast food

Today we have access to more information than man has ever had access to; we are awash in it. The development of the internet has allowed more or less anyone, more or less anywhere, to access information on more or less anything. Yet people are worse educated than ever, they have less knowledge, less wisdom, less discernment. They are overloaded with information but they are not better off, they are worse.

Once upon a time we had trusted sources of information; The Oxford English Dictionary, The Encyclopaedia Britannica; teachers, lecturers, Professors. Nowadays, anyone can write a list of words and call it a dictionary, spelling and meaning are made up as they go; the current most used ‘encyclopaedia’ is written by everyone and anyone, many of whom have no knowledge of their subject, yet can control the content; those who teach on any level are adopting the American pomposity of calling everyone who teaches a ‘professor’, thereby lowering the value of decades of research, knowledge, experience and the highest level of learning.

Everything has been reduced to the lowest common denominator, so that everyone can feel that they are as informed as everyone else. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil has produced a glut of fruit.

In the body of Christ this has had the effect of doctrines being made up weekly, catchphrases taking the place of quoted Scripture, the ‘feel good factor’ being sought in messages and sermons being replaced with cheer leading. The sheep think they are well fed because they are bloated on hot air. Their stomachs are full of spiritual, flatulence producing fast food, lacking any nutrition or true sustenance. The babes are being kept on milk long after they should have been weaned.

If you are among those who have opted for the spoon feed, easy life; who have accepted everything they are taught by someone who makes them feel good; who doesn’t want to be challenged or have to rise an hour earlier to study for themselves; who has chosen to believe that the Bible is too hard to understand and that half of it is outdated anyway, you should ask yourself this question…Is what I have been offered and chosen to eat going to sustain me if I am faced with a fast?

Question what you are taught, search the Scriptures for yourself, challenge doctrine, challenge what you now believe, be brave enough to strip it back to the basic question, “Is there a God?”. Truth will stand in the face of the harshest questioning, in fact, it is strengthened by it. The Holy Spirit is waiting to teach those who long to be taught, but he has little to offer those who just want more candyfloss.

Posted by: forfreedomalone | 04/01/2019

To move, or not to move, that is the question.

Once upon a time there was a mighty king who had a group of counsellors whom he trusted to advise him. He would discuss his ideas and plans for his kingdom with them and, very often, take their counsel. These men were highly privileged to be so close to the king and their relationship with him and knowledge of his plans gave them great power in the kingdom.

One day the king announced to them his Great Plan. They were amazed at his wisdom and kindness, at the extent of his plans for his people. That night they all went home in awe of the king and mulling over what they had heard that day. One man, who desired to see all that the king had said come to pass mightily and soon, wrote down all he had been told and the next day went off on a journey around the kingdom proclaiming the king’s plan. Word of the Proclamation Progress got back to the other counsellors and, one by one, they also set off, telling the people all that they knew of the king’s plans.

Eventually, word reached the king of what his counsellors had been doing. He was very, very sad. He dismissed them all. He had trusted them to keep what was disclosed to them to themselves until he told them to go out with it. He was heartbroken that they had broken his trust and had turned their relationship with him into a power grabbing tool. “Who can I trust with my deepest thoughts and desires?”, said the king, “I thought I could trust my friends, but they have let me down”.

The queen was standing nearby and, seeing how sad her husband was she went to him and said, “Sire, you can trust me, if you should choose to talk to me. I do not need to hold greater power, I am your wife. I do not need to break your confidence, I am part of you and what you have is mine also, to treasure. If it would please you to talk to me, I should be happy to listen and keep your privy council.”.

The king saw how much she loved him and that her desire to be there as a listening ear was for him and not for her; as opposed to his friends; and he asked himself, “How could I have been so silly to not see that you were always the one to whom I should have turned?”. Thereafter, the king and queen reigned together, working together for the good of the kingdom and never undermining the other.

If you have been given privy information from the Lord, do not be persuaded by others to reveal it. If you have been waiting decades for the word from the Lord to move on something, do not be persuaded by others to move ahead of the Lord.

He is not looking for trailblazers, he is looking for the faithful.
He is not looking for battering rams, but for sheep who know his voice.

Do not be persuaded by stirred up emotions, by the church cheerleaders, by the self-proclaimed prophets, by ear tickling words, by anything but the still small voice of the Lord, to move. To do so would be like being persuaded to open the oven door just as the souffle has risen. You will destroy everything you have waited and worked for in one moment when waiting another minute would have lead you to triumph.

Posted by: forfreedomalone | 28/12/2018

Day of letdown.

For millions of people around the world, today sees the beginning of a period of disappointment, emptiness and emotional letdown. There have been weeks of build up to a day on which the world should look rosy, everyone should live in peace and harmony with one another, families should be united, want and lack should be banished and love should rule.

Millions pin all their positive emotions on one day, in December, when they attempt to create their idea of the perfect world. It is, of course, totally false. It is filled with romanticism, idealism, fantasy and pseudo-religion and the only end of such is disappointment. No matter how hard everyone tries, if all the dreams work, it is only for one day. It is utterly false, not a shred of reality about it, but if invested in emotionally it will bring a crash, like the ‘cold-turkey’ of a drug addict and the world will actually look bleaker than before.

The dreams of peace, joy, love, romance and wonder in all we see can be a reality, but that reality is not found in decorated trees or home, tables and people groaning with too much food, or dashing through the snow. It is found in a deepening, relationship with the Almighty God, in whom the desires of every heart are found.

If you want to spend a day with family, enjoying a good meal and exchanging gifts, that is great and can be a wonderful day; but do not deceive yourself that doing so will bring your heart’s deepest longing into reality. You cannot conjure up, by human effort, the things which belong only to God.

If today you are feeling a sense of loss because all the beauty and unity has gone (false though it was), turn to the source of love, joy and eternal peace. When you connect with him to the degree you find these living realities in your life, you will never need to attempt to create them again.

Posted by: forfreedomalone | 22/12/2018

Prophetic word for those who will hear.

The master shepherd is coming to enquire of the under-shepherds, “What have you been doing with my sheep?” The enquiry will lead to an inquiry with those who cannot answer him in a satisfactory way. He has commissioned his shepherds and they can expect to answer to him whenever he chooses to ask questions of them.

The questions he will ask include, “Why have you not fed my sheep, but fed yourselves upon my sheep?”. His sheep have been left leaderless and have wandered; his sheep have been starved; his sheep have been slaughtered at the hands of the shepherds and the shepherds have grown fat and lazy the while.

There will be a massive shifting of the shepherds and we will suddenly find that those we thought were the highest are laid very low and those of whom we have never heard will be raised up. These shepherds will be commissioned with teaching the sheep how to find good pasture, how to discern the wolves from other sheep and how to walk before God as holy. These shepherds have been in training for years and decades, but most are utterly unknown to the sheep. They have been set apart and refined in the fires of adversity. When they come forth they will instantly be recognised by the sheep, but the wolves will reject them and attack.

The sheep must also consider their ways because one sheep has been attacking another for WAY too long. His sheep have been behaving like the wolves. This must stop. Sheep must work together, they must shield one another, build one another up, protect one another and not, as Ham, “Uncover their father’s (or brother’s, or sister’s, or mother’s ) nakedness).
This coming of the Lord will be spiritual, not physical and it will be soon.

Let those who have ears to ear, sh’ma (hear, understand and obey).

Posted by: forfreedomalone | 08/12/2018

Judge the Church and shun evil.

We haven’t had a “Have you ever wondered?” question for a while, so here is one.
Have you ever wondered what on earth Jesus was talking about when we was telling people to poke out their eyes and cut off their hands?”And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” Matthew 5:30

This question has a really simple answer, but it is an answer that today is hard to find in practice within the church. The answer is hidden in plain sight on the last line. “your whole body”. Jesus was not telling men who had looked lustfully at a woman to literally poke our their eye…as he had just said in the previous couple of verses. After all, which eye? Both looked. He was talking figuratively. He was talking about removing from The Body the ones who will, if allowed to remain in The Body, cause the whole Body to end up in hell. He was talking about not allowing sin to infiltrate the corporate body of believers.

This is a pattern you see over and over again with the Israelites. They allowed the pagans to get in amongst them, they wouldn’t drive them away or wipe them out and the next thing you know they are all going after false gods. Over and over again the body corporate paid for it. When the head of a family stole silver which has been dedicated to destruction; that is dedicated to God; his whole family were killed, in the Book of Joshua. He was the leader and he lead his family into the wrath of God.

This is what Jesus is talking about. Yes, he dined with sinners, but they were sinners. They were not God’s people, sinning. Those are two very different groups and need to be treated in two very different ways. Sinners are doing what comes naturally, we should not expect anything other from them, they are not set aside for holiness, they are unclean, sinners. God’s people, on the other hand, ARE set aside for God, they are clean, they are supposed to be living a sanctified life, they are also supposed to be doing what comes naturally, but that is now a new nature, the nature of God, not of sin. If this one is allowed to go on in the Body Corporate they will infect the whole body with the disease of sin they have in them. Before you know where you are there will tolerance for the things God says are intolerable. This is exactly where we are today in the church.

Paul was outraged when he heard of the sexual immorality of a man in the body of believers of Corinth. He wrote, in 1 Corinthians 5….”It is actually reported that there is immorality among you and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife.You are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.For though absent in body I am present in spirit and, as if present, I have already pronounced judgement in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

Paul was quite clear that this man was to be removed from the body of believers. He was to be handed over to satan for the destruction of his flesh (self, old man, NOT physical body) that there was a chance his spirit may be saved. Not handing over this man would, therefore, cause him to lose his place in heaven, as he would revel in his evil and infect the rest with it, as Paul then says in the next verses to the ones quoted above, “Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, (He’s talking about the Feast of Unleaven Bread, which begins the moment Passover end) not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral men; not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But rather I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber–not even to eat with such a one.

For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Drive out the wicked person from among you.”

Sexual sins are the most warned against in the whole Bible. As Paul went on to say, in 1 Corinthians 6 “Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body.”

You may say you do not want to be, or do not have the right to be, the judge and jury over the life of a ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ and that making you beliefs clear to them is enough, but the Scripture says otherwise. Paul clearly says, he has the authority to judge the church…in fact, he says, “YOU are to judge”. We are to face those who are sinning within the church and present them with the fact of it and the consequence of it. If they will nto turn, we are not no longer associate with them. Drive them out from your midst; heartbreaking though it is; because if you do not set yourselves apart, pursue sanctification and keep the body clean, corporately, there will be a price to pay which will affect us all. Just look around at the church today and see, we are already paying it. The cancer of sin being accepted in the church is everywhere, it has even cause distortion of vision that many can no longer see sin as sin.

We are about to cross a divine threshold, when God is going to say, “Enough is enough”. He is about to destroy the church for its rebellion and sin against his name. If you want to be on the right side of that threshold, make sure you examine yourself and those with whom you associate, now, before it is too late. Brutal honesty is required, with ourselves and those we love, because without it, we may be condemning a soul to hell.

Posted by: forfreedomalone | 06/12/2018

Judgement, the War and a wonky compass.

When Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden apple they are said to have acquired knowledge. However, if this is so then knowledge comes in two types, good knowledge and evil knowledge. Scientists are rather good at showing us that this is not so; knowledge is knowledge, it is neither good nor bad, it just is. It is our judgements of it which make it good or bad and it was the ability to judge good from bad which Adam and Eve acquired.

Once we have assigned ‘good’ or ‘bad’ to knowledge we are then on the path away from God. We decide what is ‘good’ and what is ‘evil’, rather than allowing him to do that and, having done so, we enter into shame and pride, depending on our judgement of the knowledge to hand. Without a judgement free assessment of the knowledge we are no longer free to take appropriate action, we are locked into a course already set by our judgements. Many think it is best, therefore, to remove knowledge and we will have removed the preset courses, the judgements and the terrible messes created by them. This, however, is disaster waiting to happen, as we are incapable of functioning at all without knowledge.

Let me illustrate with a conversation I had with a German lady. Her husband had been a Luftwaffe pilot during WWII and she was very anxious to forget it. She felt that remembering the war at all was only going to stain Germany’s collective character forever. The young would never be free to be decent people and the shame of the whole thing would never leave them. It was much better to forget it completely. This, I told her, was exactly how it would all happen again. The Germans MUST remember; but what they must remember is the facts, they should no longer carry the shame, because this generation were not responsible for the terrible things Germany did, but, if they forget they will be setting themselves up for another round.

In a time of great darkness in Germany, the Prince of Darkness came to them disguised as an Angel of Light. In their time of trouble and need they saw him as their saviour and they followed him in their millions. They were hoodwinked. These are facts, devoid of blame. In the ensuing 10 years millions of their men died, their cities were reduced to rubble and their civilian population suffered as much, if not more, than the allies of Europe. The fact that they were deceived caused untold suffering to THEM, never mind what it did to the rest of the world. This is why they must not forget. But they must forgive. They must forgive themselves, because by so doing they remove the shame and return to pure knowledge. Japan has been in the process, for some years, of erasing their part in WWII from the collective consciousness, because the shame is unbearable. They believe if they erase the knowledge, they will erase the shame. They won’t, they will erase the one thing they need to stop them doing it again. They will demagnetise their moral compass and have no means of navigating life.

So it is with us who follow the Lord. We need knowledge of what he says we are to do and what we are not to do; this is the knowledge of life and death. It comes with no shame and no condemnation (sentence of death..NOT the declaration of wrong doing); it is knowledge pure and simple. We need to hear the truth, spoken in love, which is the delivery of God’s knowledge and wisdom for living, without shame or arrogance, because they are the very instruments which will lead us into more of the same. When we judge knowledge to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ we remove the knowledge of its life giving power and turn it into an instrument of feeding our egos, or as Paul put it “self” or “the flesh”.

When ‘the church’ declared the law no longer of any value, as it had been fulfilled and, therefore, done away with, (despite the fact that our Lord said the exact opposite) they demagnetised their moral compass and set themselves adrift with the rest of the world. They still have a compass and so they believe they are safer than the world, but this compass doesn’t work; they are guilty of self deception, just as the German people were in the late 1930s and early 1940s. They have taken the action they have, not from any desire to join the world adrift at sea, nor from any desire to perpetrate evil or rebellion, but from the erroneous belief that no knowledge equals no shame and no condemnation. It does not, it equals no compass.

Trust circumcision, of the heart, is what removes shame and pride. They are the results of our judgements which we apply to pure knowledge. If we want to be free we need to be circumcised of our judgements, not our knowledge. We need the knowledge of what God says will bring life and what will lead to death, we need to follow the path of life as set down by him; but to do this successfully, we need to be circumcised of our ability to judge, so that shame and pride no longer disturb our compass settings and we can plot a true path.

Posted by: forfreedomalone | 03/12/2018

Worthwhile searching.

It is a common practice today to search about for preachers one likes, words which make one feel good about oneself or which make one feel God is very much for one no matter what. All this does is make today’s Christians emotional junkies. It also makes them dependant upon the doctrine of others and, both independent and ignorant, of God’s word. This is a bad place to be.

They know a few verses of the New Testament, a few stories from the Old and the gist of the doctrine of what it all means; but they do not know the word of God.

If we do not know the word of God, we do not know God. Knowing the doctrine according to Tom, Dick or Harry is irrelevant if we do not know the word of God. We will be blown about by every wide of doctrine if we only know doctrine and not the word of God. We will never be able to connect the dots (so to speak) if all we have is doctrine, because doctrine doesn’t know where the dots are, just that there, probably, are some and so it waxes lyrical about the beautiful picture the dots make, but it cannot connect them to make the picture.

Doctrine will tell you Job was a righteous man; the word of God will tell you he was a self righteous and proud man, already in satan’s hands. Doctrine will tell you, Joshua lead the people into the Promised Land; the word of God will reveal the coming Messiah over and over and over again in the first few chapters of the story.

Doctrine will tell you the Song of Songs is a love poem; the word of God will reveal power of unity, in the battle field of life. Doctrine will tell you, “All you need is love” the word of God will say, “You cannot begin to understand my love if you do not understand my justice.”

If you are seeking greater knowledge and understanding of God, do not seek it in doctrine, seek it in the word. Let the Word interpret the word, like the Word reveal what the word says and let the Word lead you to deeper and deeper seams of gold, as you dig in its rich soil.

Stop wasting your time on facebook and youtube searches for interesting or uplifting teaching, open the word of God and start searching there. It is the best and more underused resource in the world.

“And the gold of the land is good”
Posted by: forfreedomalone | 28/11/2018

Works count.

Jesus had a choice when faced with the Cross. Do I go to the Cross or do I not? He could have walked away at any point. If that is not so he was NOT a willing sacrifice. He was as unwilling as all those poor animals. Jesus went to the Cross, willingly, because he set his will to do the Father’s will. He did not have some sort of ‘natural’ desire to be beaten near to death, nailed to a wooden stake and left hanging, naked, for hours in screaming agony, but unable to scream because he was suffocating. Nor was he devoid of any feelings or opinions on the subject.

Jesus was a man. What man naturally wants to suffer what he suffered?
He wanted to run! Which is why he asked his Father to remove the cup. His ‘nature’ was for self preservation. BUT…..his desire to do the Father’s will rather than his, was stronger. That took effort….a heck of a lot of effort.
Real love is not a fuzzy feeling which motivates you, it is when you lay down your life (physically, perhaps, but your will is what it more usually means) and do what you do not want to do, for the sake of another.

The whole concept of “grace” is one which has been twisted and has become, for some, an excuse to live like sinners while expecting heaven at the end of it. hey see the fact that they have received the favour of God as a “thumbs up, carry on” sign. It is not, it is the power to work out our salvation; the favour to start working like we never worked before, but in a totally different way.

We are to work, all the days of our lives. Paul said, in Ephesians, “For we are his workmanship, CREATED in Christ Jesus FOR GOOD WORKS which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, “In Timothy, Paul says, “That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” In Titus “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works” & “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works”and also, “This is a faithful saying and these things I will, that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.”

In 1 Peter we read, “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
The whole chapter of Philippians 2 is about ‘working out your salvation’. We will be judged on the last day according to our works. Our salvation depends upon it.

When some will tell us we need Jesus plus nothing they are wrong. We do not work to obtain righteousness, we work because we have been given it. Our very redemption is proof of just how that works.

Most certainly we DO need Jesus PLUS our works; our good works, born out of the righteousness we have had imputed to us from faith. If we are lacking those works, James tells us, our faith, to which we are so proudly clinging, is dead and it is by faith, living faith, by which we will be saved.

Posted by: forfreedomalone | 26/11/2018

What a tangled web!

I was asked an interesting question today and I often feel that interesting questions might be ones others are asking themselves, so I like to post the answers for a wider benefit.

“If we are under grace we are no longer under law, so we need have no truck with works. Right?” Wrong. Wrong on quite a few points, but most certainly wrong. Let’s break it down and see why.

There has been a false teaching in the church for about 40 years that grace (the favour of God) is the opposite of law. There is nowhere in Scripture where we are presented with the choice of following one or the other, they are not mutually exclusive. So long as one believes that they are and that we are freed from law to live in the constant favour of God one will find oneself in difficulties over and over again.

So, if grace has not superseded law, what relationship does it have to law? This is one of the hardest questions on the subject to answer, because no matter what one says it will be misconstrued and it will be misconstrued by minds which are either legalistic or rebellious. The legalist will say, “Ah, so we are to keep the law as laid down in Torah. Where can I find enough land to keep sheep, cattle and birds for sacrifice? I’ll need a big stone pile too, because there is a lot of stoning to be done.” The rebellious will say, “Ah, so the law has been done away with, now I am free to do as I please. I call that, “following my heart” and “love” (which, of course, I will define as I believe fit) .

Neither extremist has had the slightest renewal of their minds and so they have their own agendas for their resultant behaviours. God’s way is higher and to see it in this example, we need to look straight up the middle of these two extremists.

God gave his law to the people he redeemed. He told them how to live in relationship to him and to one another. If they followed the rules they would be in right standing with him and he would bless them. If they disobeyed him they would come under the curses attached to this same law. It was just the way things were. So there they were, in the middle of a wilderness, with the rules on ‘how to be right with their God’ and the choice to obey or not. This situation was a life of living by the letter of the law. It was what they had and it was what they knew. When they obeyed God they were right with him…..according to the letter of the law. There was still room for trusting God, even when living by the letter, but what they did not have was the understanding of the spirit of the law.

Now, fast forward time by a few thousand years and we are introduced to a new concept for these people whose descendants were still in possession of the letter of the law. This new concept is the spirit of the law. The vaguest introduction to this concept had already been made to them in their wilderness wanderings, by their leader, Moses, when he said that the law was to be written on their hearts, but the people who living in the 1st century AD, most likely, long since had forgotten that.

What makes the change from ‘letter’ to ‘spirit’ possible?A perfect sacrifice. This is because it was by the sacrifices that they were in right standing with God in the first place. The sacrifices were, what Paul (and the people of his day) called, “The works of the Law”. These works, i.e. sacrifices, were what made the people righteous; BUT, this righteousness was not the righteousness of God. His righteousness is eternal, theirs was temporary. Their right standing was for one year, then they had to re-enact the Day of Atonement all over again for the next year, year after year. The burden of sacrifice, constant presence of death, cost and heartbreak of killing these animals was a constant reminder to them of the price of sin and the fact that the end result of it is death.

When the day came that God made it possible to change from keeping the letter, to keeping the spirit, he did so by providing the perfect sacrifice. This sacrifice would be offered once, for all sin, for all who would take advantage of it and then it would never be offered again. It would never be offered again because you can’t improve on perfection, because everything else is inferior. How did this sacrifice come to be so perfect? He kept the law, perfectly. The perfection of the law is God’s standard of holiness. We can’t keep it, we start out fallen and all we can do is get up for a moment and fall again. The one who kept it was upright from the first. If there is no righteousness in the law, then he had no way of being righteous as judged by the law. His righteousness would be measured by some other stick and would, therefore, be useless when it came to atoning for those who were being measured by the law. This one was perfect according to God’s stated standard; he could, therefore, take upon himself the just condemnation of the law, as a substitute for those who were justly condemned.

Remember righteousness is a legal term; it is measured by the law. The law decided who is righteous and who is not; but God, in his mercy, chose to commute the sentence of the unrighteous and declare them innocent before the law; when they accepted the condemnatory sacrifice he offered in their stead. The law is not a measure of God’s love, it is a measure of his justice.
Now, the letter of the law had been fulfilled. But, the spirit of the law remained. In fact, the spirit of the law has, one might say, been released with the fulfilment of the letter. So how does the spirit of the law manifest? In good works.Under the letter of the law the works of the law were Temple sacrifices; under the spirit of the law the works of the law are the good works which were prepared for us from the foundation of the world. We were created to do these good works. The works of the law were dead works; dead, because they only achieved their goal for one year, then the effect died and they had to be done all over again. The works of the spirit are good because they are upright, honourable, joyful, agreeable, excellent; they are born out of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance and against them there is no law.
Jesus, Paul and Peter spoke extensively on the need for good works. Good works are the natural fruit of the spirit of the law being written on our hearts.

Paul said, in Ephesians, “For we are his workmanship, CREATED in Christ Jesus FOR GOOD WORKS which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your GOOD WORKS. “In Timothy it says, “That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all GOOD WORKS.” In Titus “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of GOOD WORKS” & “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto himself a peculiar people, ZEALOUS FOR GOOD WORKS”and also, “This is a faithful saying and these things I will that you affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain GOD WORKS. These things are good and profitable unto men.”In 1 Peter, “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your GOOD WORKS, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.”

To say that we have no truck with works is to totally miss the point. We are no longer prisoners to the letter of the law, but are free to live by the spirit of the law and the spirit says, “Produce good fruit, which is your good works”.

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