SOZO by Jacob Write

wp-1463332623722.jpgThe word translated “salvation/saved” is the Greek word “sozo” which means to be healed, made whole, and delivered from danger. This is an ontological concept and not a legal transaction concept.

The same word is actually used for when Jesus physically healed people. Jesus did not come into the world declaring his mission was to save us from some scary, eternal torture chamber in some obscure future afterlife, but to heal us of our sin, deliver us from oppression, and make us into wholly restored divine image-bearers.

“The sting of death is sin.” (1 Cor. 15:56) The sting of death is not God punishing us for sin, the sting of death is sin itself. Sin is our problem, not God. Sin is killing us, not God. We die because we have been stung by sin, we don’t die because God imposes the death penalty on us.

  • Notice the difference between an ontological problem and a forensically imposed legal problem. One sees sin in the sense of being the sting of a deadly scorpion resulting in death and the other sees sin in the sense of being a legal offense that God must kill us for.

One makes God out to be our Savior from sin and what it does to us and one makes God out to be our destroyer with an offer to pardon us from his condemnation.

The way to see Christ as Savior is as a doctor healing us from sin and its symptoms of corruption and death, freeing us from bondage and restoring us to life, not as a tyrant threatening to kill and torture us if we don’t accept a legal transaction and worship him.

In Jesus’ life, he demonstrated the role of doctor, healing people’s bodies and souls.

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The Message of Christ by Francois du Toit

The word theology means the Logic of God. God does not expect us to respond in an UNION 101unintelligent way to the greatest revelation of knowledge and understanding that man could possibly perceive; nor to remain in a haze of confusion concerning our origin, our identity, our eternal destiny and our present standing before him.

Our Heavenly Father has made it possible for us to come into the same understanding, to enjoy an equal appreciation of that which he himself enjoys.

True companionship only makes sense in an environment of mutual compatibility. The mission of Jesus was not to add to the mystery of Deity but to bring absolute clarity regarding the person of God as the Father of the human race!

“If you have seen me, you have seen the Father”.

Any idea that we could have had of God that is unlike Jesus would not be true about God! In Jesus the forgotten Father of the human race introduces himself again as our only true Father. Eph 4:5 There is only one faith! Not what we believe about God but what God believes about us! Eph 4:6 There is only one God. He remains the ultimate Father of the universe.

We are because he is. He is present in all; he is above all, through all, and in all.(He is not far from each one of us; in him we live and move and have our being. We are indeed his offspring. [Acts 17:24-28]) 1John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, to know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. In Jesus God has gone to the ultimate extreme to show his desire for us “to know, even as we have always been known.” 1 Cor 13:12.

The Greek word in Romans 6:11, [logizomai] literally means to make a calculation to which there can only be one logical conclusion. In the context of the gospel this conclusion means that God included man in Christ; we co-died and were co-raised with him, we co-exist in union with him. This is the essence of the message of Christ.

Do Christians Have a Sinful Nature? (Indwelling Sin)


Do Christians have a sinful nature?
The reason I am bring this up is there seems much of discussions about a Believer not understanding what happens when they sin.

imageMuch confusion is because of misinterpretation in s
ome translations of the Bible of the
Greek word sarx (which directly translated means “flesh”), the doctrine of the “sinful nature”or “indwelling sin” has been preached with such strong conviction for years.
It has caused sincere believers to try and live up to man made moral standards, without realizing that in doing this they only subject themselves to endless frustration, lack of confidence before God and an expectation of punishment to come their way.

It really breaks my heart to see people in bondage because of simply a lack of understanding of the finished work of Christ.

In the original Greek language which the New Testament was translated from, the word sarx was used to describe over a dozen different concepts, such as the sinful nature, human flesh, sexual intercourse, carnality, etc.

The W.E. Vines Expository Dictionary of Bible Words lists 14 different meanings for the word sarx.

The only way to determine the meaning of sarx in a particular part of scripture is to look at the context. Some Bible translators attempted to translate sarx into what they thought it meant in that particular context, but many got it wrong.

Only the translators of the literal translations (e.g. KJV or NKJV and a few others) did not change the word sarx into what they thought it might mean, but left it in the English verses simply as “flesh”, allowing the reader to interpret the context.

That’s why Romans 7 and some other passages appear to be so confusing in some translations, because sarx (which means “flesh”) was replaced with “sinful nature”every time!

Here’s an example of where sarx was interpreted in two different ways:

  • I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally [personally = sarx]. (Col 2: 1 NIV)
  • For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh [flesh = sarx]. (Col 2: 1 NKJV)

Spiritual Circumcision

Now when the Bible talks about the “inward man”, the “new man”or the “new nature”, it speaks about the born again spirit of a believer.

The “sinful nature”or “old man”refers to the evil, sinful nature that every person in the earth is born with.

This nature is at enmity with God and alive to sin, but it was completely cut out from us the day we became born again:

In him (JESUS) you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ (Col 2: 11 NIV).

Notice that this is not a physical circumcision, since the verse says “not with a circumcision done by the hands of men”.

It must therefore be a spiritual circumcision, meaning the cutting away or the removal of the sinful nature.

Crucified and Buried with Christ

In Romans 6 Paul uses another image of how our old sinful nature was completely removed. At salvation, a Christian’s sinful nature is actually conveyed back through time to the cross and crucified and buried with Christ:

…knowing this, that our old man [sinful nature] was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. (Rom 6: 6 NKJV)

  • After we are born again, we are not “sinners” anymore, even though we sometimes make mistakes.

There is not one verse in the entire New Covenant that calls a born again believer a “sinner”. The term “sinner” refers to a person that has not yet been born again (this is consistent throughout the entire New Testament after the cross) and yet we find most Christians today thinking: “I am just an old sinner.” No we are not!!!

Under the Old Covenant people had to be circumcised on the eighth day in accordance with the law. Under the New Covenant God circumcises the heart of the believer, removing (cutting out) the old evil nature (see Colossians 2: 11 above again) and giving us a new resurrected spirit that is created in 100% perfect righteousness like Christ.

God also writes His laws on our hearts which simply means He gives us the desire to please Him, but of course we know He is actually already pleased with us because of what Jesus did on our behalf.

  • For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. (Rom 7: 22 NKJV)

This means that our new reborn spirit desires to please God and delights in Him. The following comparisons between literal and conceptual Bible translations clearly illustrate this misunderstand.

Please note we’re not criticizing certain Bible translations, rather we’re addressing the misconception in the church about a born again believer’s inner nature, as well as the translation of the word sarx: …in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature [sarx] but according to the Spirit.

Those who live according to the sinful nature [sarx] have their minds set on what that nature [sarx] desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. (Rom 8: 4-5 NIV)

Now compare: …that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh [sarx] but according to the Spirit.

For those who live according to the flesh [sarx] set their minds on the things of the flesh [sarx], but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (Rom 8: 4 NKJV)

It is very easy to see from the first example that a believer can be made to believe that they still have a sinful nature on the inside.

However from the second example the correct interpretation can be made, namely that believers who set their thoughts on the things of their unrenewed minds, will live to try and gratify those desires and not walk according to the desires of their new born again spirit man. We do not have to battle a sinful nature anymore, the battle is now only in our minds. Our minds need to be trained (renewed) to line up with the truth of the Word of God.

  • You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature [sarx]; rather, serve one another in love. (Gal 5: 13 NIV)

Compare with: For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh [sarx], but through love serve one another. (Gal 5: 13 NKJV)

Since we do not have a sinful nature anymore, we cannot actually indulge in it as mentioned by the first example here.

This is a really a no-brainer. Here’s another example: So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature [sarx]. (Gal 5: 16 NIV)

Compare with: I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh [sarx]. (Gal 5: 16 NKJV)

  • We can’t gratify the desires of our sinful nature because we don’t have one!

But if we train and discipline our minds to line up according to the desires of the born again spirit on the inside, our old habits and thought patterns will begin to starve. There are many more examples to illustrate this point, but I think we get the idea.

Now consider this: The above verses, coupled with the fact that most people today believe whatever they read (without thinking about it) in whatever translation of Bible they have, plus the fact that the modern church has taught for hundreds of years that Christians do have a sinful nature (and that we have to deny this sinful nature, fight it tooth and nail and put it to death!), it is easy to see that we can be conned by texts that are read out of context.

Now we may ask: “Why then do Christians still sin? If we don’t have a sinful nature, why do we still keep on making mistakes, feeling like we are disappointing God and falling short of what we think God expects from us?”

This is what we will be talking about in my next Blog here in Jesus Without Religion

What is Disobedience?

So what is disobedience? It may be somewhat different than you think. That being said, however most people will say: “Disobedience IS DOING what God told us not to do”. Such a response is made up by trying to relate to God through the law, based on their own level of obedience to the requirements of the 10 Commandments.image

This will include things like lying, stealing, envy, etc. You got the idea… Some will also say that disobedience is NOT DOING those things which God did command us to do.

This will always include doing good works like giving to the poor, loving our neighbors as ourselves, tithing, etc. You got the idea… However understand all these things are a part of the Old Covenant Law.

Yes, that’s right you may not even know also…. even the commandment to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and love you neighbor as yourself” which was a quoted from an Old Testament Law (Deut 6: 5), which has also been entirely fulfilled in Christ.

Now don’t get angry with me, there is nothing wrong with doing these things, as long as they don’t form the basis of how we relate to God.

Believers/Christians should trust in the finished work of the cross, NOT in their own performance.

As born again believers we know that we have been redeemed from the curse that comes from disobedience to these laws:

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us”. (Gal 3: 13)

The law with its requirements that stood against us HAS BEEN cancelled so that we can be FREE to love God and live for Him without the fear of judgment:

…having wiped out the handwriting (Ten Commandments) of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (Col 2: 14)

If there is any fear of judgment, we HAVE NOT been made perfect in love yet:

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love”. (1 John 4: 18)

The full wrath and judgment for sin was poured out on Jesus, and God took an oath in Isaiah 54 NEVER to rebuke us or ever be angry with us ever again:

“For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; For as I HAVE SWORN that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. (Isa 54: 9)

Because the law (Ten Commandments) with its requirements was nailed to the cross with Jesus, there is no more law to break anymore. …because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression. (Rom 4: 15)

So what is disobedience then?

The very next verses is a key: 7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,” 8 and “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.” They [unbelievers] stumble, being disobedient to THE WORD, to which they also were appointed. (1 Pet 2: 7-8)

Verse 7 contrasts two different groups of people very distinctly: Those who believe and those who are disobedient. This tells us that those who DO NOT BELIEVE are disobedient.

The second half of verse 8 if you’ve noticed also says that they stumble because THEY ARE disobedient to THE WORD.

What or who is the Word?

The Word is Jesus: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. (John 1: 1 ; 3)

The Word is a person and anybody that DOES NOT BELIEVE in Him (JESUS) stumbles over the stumbling stone and is called “disobedient”. Verse 7 also says that to THOSE WHO BELIEVE, He (JESUS) is precious. This is because He (JESUS) becomes the author of their salvation, their savior and their brother and they are adopted into His family. What a privilege!

Here’s another good example: “He who BELIEVES in HIM is not condemned; but he who DOES NOT BELIEVE is condemned already, because he has NOT BELIEVED in the NAME of the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3: 18,19)

And one more example: And you He HAS made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience. (Eph 2: 1-2)

This passage says that we WERE once dead towards God when we still had an old sinful nature, the same nature that still lives on in those who refuse to accept Jesus.

They are called the “sons of disobedience”. Verse two says we “once walked according to the course of this world”, which implies we don’t no longer.

It’s pretty clear from these two verses that being disobedient doesn’t really have a lot to do with our deeds or behavior.

“Being disobedient means NOT to be BORN-AGAIN”. It means refusing to except Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life.

The GOOD NEWS is that the moment we accepted Jesus’ perfect sacrifice as the FULL atonement for our sin, all HIS OBEDIENCE WAS TO US as a free gift, which making us 100% righteous and 100% acceptable to God. Our salvation is now just as secure as Jesus Himself, because we are in Christ.

“But of Him YOU ARE in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and redemption”.
(1 Cor 1: 30)

Because we are now in Christ and He lives in us, the Heavenly Father sees His Sons when He looks at us: 100% perfect and 100% without blemish. The only way we could ever lose our right standing with God is if Jesus were to backslide, which of course could never happen… lol

Can a Christian “Fall Out of Grace”?

 
Being constantly surrounded with people and circumstances that demand from us our best performance, we can easily fall into the trap of feeling that God disapproves of us when we are not performing at our best. In our journey towards imagematurity in Christ however, it’s quite normal for believers to make mistakes.

God knew that we would not be instantly transformed in our minds when we became His children; the process of renewing our minds and overcoming old habits can sometimes take years. And in a world where churches predominantly preach law based and performance oriented living, we can often underestimate the vastness of the grace of our Father.

Let’s consider whether a believer can fall “out”of the grace of God. Some people may feel that there is a sin that God can’t ever forgive them for, perhaps unforgiveness towards another or maybe they’ve even committed adultery or murder. Let’s see what the Word says.

You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. (Gal 5: 4 NKJV) The only way to fall out of grace is by trying to observe the law. We do not fall from grace when we stumble. In fact the more someone has sinned, the more grace God gives to cover that sin: Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more. (Rom 5: 20 NKJV, emphasis added) Thus, when we sin we fall into grace.

Sin in the Congregation A number of Christians, when they realize this truth, go out and sin quite profusely, trying to make up for all the times they had restrained themselves previously, when they still thought that God would not accept or forgive them if they committed this or that sin.

The Bible teaches us however not to indulge in the flesh: For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (Gal 5: 13 NKJV) Probably the most difficult thing for pastors / shepherds during this period is not to become anxious or insecure about their flock, even as they see how some Christians purposely set out to indulge in sin.

The law preachers would say that they have now given their flock “a license to sin”. This is why some preachers simply avoid teaching on grace, because they fear it would cause the church to break out into immorality. Well consider this fact: Christians sin, whether they are under law or under grace!

The only difference is that grace sheds light on the sin. The problem was always there, but previously it was under the covers and grace has now brought it into the open.

When someone turns on a torch in an old attic, they don’t say “Look at all the dust this light has created!”No the dust was always there, the light simply exposed it. But when a church has been established on the foundation of grace, even if some have initially set out to sin (all they will learn in any case is that sin brings about destruction, unfulfilment and bad consequences), they will always make the return to their Father when they know He loves them unconditionally, like the father loved the prodigal son in Luke 15.

In fact, God’s children would return faster and serve God even more than before when they realize that their destructive behavior does them no good and that only by running back to the arms of their Father will they find fulfillment in life. Are we willing to preach grace to the extent of being misunderstood, persecuted and hated, like the apostle Paul? …the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, [is] to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20: 24b NKJV)

Paul was serious to the point of cursing people about this specific gospel, namely the gospel of grace! But even if we or an angel from Heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! (Gal 1: 8 NKJV)

Are we willing to believe in the goodness of our Father so unconditionally that no matter where we may have run off to or what we have squandered our inheritance on, that we can still run back to our Father’s house and believe we will be welcomed with open arms and a fatted calf? Yes we can believe it, God is that good!

Do Christians Need to Repent? 

 

The answer is a resounding “YES”! However the word “repent”means something entirely different than what Christians have made of it today.image

Bill Johnson from Bethel Church in Redding, California, has often explained repentance in his own view as follows: Re means “again” or to “go back to”. Pent means the top (like a penthouse). Thus combined this means to “go back to the top”.

This implies that when we make a mistake, all we simply have to do is change our thoughts and go back to God’s thoughts towards us.

And what are God’s thoughts? Unconditional love and acceptance because Jesus paid the full price on our behalf. Let’s journey together and endeavor to defuse the bomb that has been crafted from this word by the modern church.

The actual Greek word for repentance, Μετάνοια (met-an’-oy-ah), denotes a simple change of mind that brings about a change of outward behavior.

It does not however imply that we need to constantly remind ourselves of our mistakes and try to stop doing this or that deed. Doing this would only turn it into a sin management program, which is exactly what many Christians have turned their entire lives into. No, good conduct is the result of having been changed from the inside out and not something that we do in order to try to be changed. Repentance has different implications for believers than for non-believers.

Basically it comes down to this: When a Christian is told to repent, it means to change their thinking about their position in Christ, or change their theology to line up with the truths of having been eternally forgiven, justified, made righteous, etc. Whenever a non-believer is told to repent, it means they need to change their thinking about what Jesus means to them and come to a place where they admit they need Him as their Lord and Savior. Let’s take a look at a few examples of where the word “repent”or “repentance”was used in the New Testament.

The Bible is God’s love letter to His children. Let’s take the sting out of “repentance”today and see it for the beautiful thing it actually is.

Example 1
Before the cross, Jesus and John the Baptist told people to repent and to be baptized, but they were both preaching under the Old Covenant to people that were still under the law (remember the New Covenant only began after the cross). John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance, pointing non-believers to Jesus: Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus”. (Acts 19: 4 NKJV)

Example 2
For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. (2 Cor 7: 8-10 NKJV, emphasis added) Paul was writing his second epistle to the church in Corinth (which means they were Christians) and after his severe rebuke to them in his first letter, he was exceedingly glad they had taken his words to heart, turning away from the wicked ways in which they had previously been conducting themselves. In his previous letter he reprimanded them for practicing such wickedness as were not even known among non-believers: It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles –that a man has his father’s wife! (1 Cor 5: 1 NKJV) Let’s look at the Greek word used for “salvation”in 2 Corinthians 7: 10: G4991 σωτηρία (so-tay-ree’-ah) Feminine of a derivative of G4990 as (properly abstract) noun; rescue or safety (physically or morally): – deliver, health, salvation, save, saving. Paul wasn’t saying that these believers were going to lose their salvation if they persisted with these evil works; he was saying that their turning away from these things actually saved them from a whole heap of heartache, pain and dire consequences later on. Just imagine the conflict that would exist in a church if it became known that a boy was sleeping with his mother! But because these people changed their thinking and realized that their conduct was actually not in line with their identity as purified, cleansed and forgiven believers, they were motivated to change their ways, hence Paul’s praise for them in this, his second letter: Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation. (2 Cor 7: 4 NKJV) It’s worth noting that their motivation to change their behavior was neither a threat of punishment nor the danger of losing their salvation: it was the revelation that they were unconditionally loved by God in spite of their evil conduct! God’s promises and love to them remained true in spite of their conduct and this brought about their change of heart. Look at the opening words of this same chapter: Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh… (2 Cor 7: 1a NKJV, emphasis added) Paul told them that because they had God’s promises (of love, blessing, eternal life, etc.) they should get their act together, not that God was going to reject or punish them for their transgressions.

Example 3
Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent. (Act 17: 30 NKJV, emphasis added) In this chapter Paul was preaching to non-believers in Athens: Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there. (Act 17: 16-17 NKJV) Paul was telling these people who were wholly given to idolatry, to repent and be saved. He urged them to place their trust in the “unknown”God in verse 23. They had so many gods and temples and statues in their city that someone had even erected an altar that had been dedicated to the “Unknown God”. Paul then used this as an opportunity to tell them about Jesus Christ and the resurrection, whereof they had no prior knowledge. And by God’s grace, some were born again that day!

Example 4
“Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. (Act 26: 19-20 NKJV, emphasis added) Here Paul explained how he told the Gentiles (unbelievers) to repent (become born again) and then, just as in our example 2, he motivated them to afterwards do works that corresponded with who they would become after they had repented: Sanctified, forgiven, holy born again believers. These two verses therefore pertain to non-believers and then also to believers.

Example 5
…how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (Act 20: 20-21 NKJV, emphasis added) Again Paul was telling non-believers to put their faith in Christ (as in example 2), calling it “repentance toward God”. Repentance From Dead Works Probably one of the most important verses concerning repentance is found in Hebrews 6. This book was written to Jews who had become born again, but they were still holding on to some of their traditions and law abiding customs. They were however Christians. Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God. (Heb 6: 1 NKJV, emphasis added) The writer of Hebrews was listing a few basic foundations of the Christian faith, amongst others “repentance from dead works”. When we try to earn God’s approval by reading more Bible, tithing, praying long prayers, joining outreach ministries or even giving all that we have away, it is called “dead works”, because our security and feeling of belonging is based on what we do and not on what Jesus has done for us. In broad terms the book of Hebrews is a summary of the superiority of the New Covenant over the Old, with the New Covenant based on the finished work of the cross and us simply believing in what God has already done for us and the Old Covenant based on ceremonious law keeping and religion, based on inferior promises and the traditions of men. Therefore in Hebrews 6: 1 above, the writer was not talking about us having to repent of our sins, but instead to stop trying to earn our salvation and to stop trying so hard to please God, because He is already pleased with us since we are His children! To summarize, when a non-believer repents it means they put their faith in God and become born again.

When a believer repents it simply means they change their thinking to line up with God’s thoughts, turning away from deeds that do not portray their true identity as a forgiven, purified believer. It also means turning away from dead works, which means to quit trying to be justified through their own level of obedience and beginning to rely on the finished work of the cross and the blood of Jesus, which grants believers unrestricted access to God’s favor and acceptance.

To repent does not mean to sit in sackcloth and ash and plead with God for forgiveness every time we make a mistake, as this would be disregarding the once for all, 100% perfect sacrifice of Christ and believing that our sin is more powerful than the blood of Christ: By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Heb 10: 10 NKJV)

Approaching God with Boldness 

 

After clothing us with His own spotless garment of righteousness, God does not want us to be conscious of our sins anymore, like the people were under the Old Covenant.image

Trying to live according to the requirements of the law will make us all too aware of just how poorly we measure up against it. The only way for a believer to have confidence when approaching God is to be absolutely convinced that all their sins have been forgiven! Anything less will always leave a trace of uncertainty about whether God really loves them or wants to bless them. God wants us to be conscious of our righteousness.

When we constantly tell God how sorry we are for this and that sin, we remind ourselves of how bad we think we are, forgetting that our sin was already forgiven at the cross more than 2000 years ago!

The writer of Hebrews wanted to instill in his readers this same confidence, showing them how the superiority of the New Covenant over the Old allows the believer to draw near to God with boldness, trusting not in their own level of obedience to the law, but in the blood of Christ.

Those who try to please God through their own efforts of law keeping are like the priests of the Old Covenant who constantly remained conscious of their mistakes, because no human being was or is ever able to perfectly execute the obligations of the law: For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.

For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. (Heb 10: 1-4, NKJV) But this Man [Jesus], after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.

For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. (Heb 10: 12-14 NKJV, annotations added) Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. (Heb 10: 19-23 NKJV)

Being Aware of Who We ARE Which of the following attitudes would Christ rather want us to walk around with: Feeling condemned, unworthy and guilty, begging and crawling on our knees before Him, constantly pleading for mercy? While at the same time having no confidence whatsoever to approach Him because we feel we are sinners? Or would God rather want us to be conscious of the fact that we have been completely forgiven of all sins (past present and future), fully accepted and loved by Him, how we have been justified and made righteous and given authority over sickness, poverty and all other enemies of God? We have even been seated in heavenly places with Christ! …and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Eph 2: 6 NKJV) Now how can a believer who sits in heaven still think that they are a sinner? This can only happen when we try to relate to God on the basis of how well we have performed, forgetting that this is not the way that He relates to us. God is a Spirit and He relates Spirit to Spirit. And since the Spirit of a believer has been sanctified, perfected, purified and justified, this is the way that God sees us.

In Matthew 3 we see Jesus being baptized in the river Jordan. This was before He had done any miracles, before He began His ministry and before He had healed even a single person.

After He was baptized the heavens opened, the Holy Spirit came down onto Him like a dove and the Father said “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”

What makes this so remarkable is the fact that Jesus was accepted and loved by God before He even did one miracle or began His ministry. Why then did God love Him already? Because Jesus was God’s Son – simple as that. By the way it isn’t written anywhere that the heavens ever closed again or that the Holy Spirit ever “lifted” off Him again.

Now the Bible tells us over and over that because of our faith in Christ, we are God’s children too. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. (Rom 8: 16 NKJV)

In fact we are even called God’s SONS, just like Jesus: “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty”. (2 Cor 6: 18 NKJV)

Now if God loved Jesus at that stage, regardless of the fact that He hadn’t done any miracles, didn’t have a ministry or hadn’t even preached a sermon yet, wouldn’t God, because He is the same forever, love us in the same way?

We can therefore, whether we feel like He loves us or not, whether we think we’ve committed the worst sin or whether we feel like we’ve been wasting our lives with insignificant activities, trust that God rejoices over us simply because of our identity:

We are His beloved children, bought with the most precious commodity in the universe:

The blood of Christ: …knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (1 Pet 1: 18-19 NKJV) God is pleased with us, whether we do miracles or have a ministry, OR NOT.