Blood Blessings: Cleansing Power

Image result for washed in the bloodPerhaps, one of the most familiar blessings known among followers of Christ is His ability to cleanse us from our sin. Most of us, at one time or another, have sung…

“What has washed away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus”, or…

“Are you washed in the blood, in the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb? Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Jesus shed blood is the most important and wonderful physical/spiritual element in the entire universe. In addition to its power to cleanse Christ’s followers of sin, we have also discovered in previous posts…

  1. We are freed from sin and slavery and being bought back with his shed blood
  2. We are forgiven through His shed blood
  3. We have peace with God, through the war reparations paid with His shed blood

Today we will look a little deeper into the cleansing power of Jesus’ blood, but first let us with joy consider the power of Christ’s blood to continually cleanse us from sin.

As we already have discovered, Christ’s blood was not only the currency needed for the atonement, it is the element which cleanses our account of sin. This is not only a past tense reality, but a present tense truth, as we sometimes stumble after our King.

(I John 1:7-9) If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

Power in the Blood

Hallelujah! Not only are our sins forgiven at the cross, but as when we fail to walk in Christ’s righteousness (from time to time), we have forgiveness and continual cleansing of stain of the sin, as well as the pattern of its unrighteous behavior in our practical life. The only requirements are that we remain in fellowship with one another, walking in the light of truth and continuing with a soft heart to the Holy Spirit, that we may be convicted of sin and confess it upon that conviction.

The reason this reality is possible is that Christ as our great High Priest continually ministers the power of His shed blood in the true Holiest Place in heaven. The book of Hebrews chapters 7-10, beautifully illuminate this truth, as well as revealing another blessing of the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus Christ.

(Hebrews 9:11-14) But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once and for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh (year to year in the O.T. system; my added note), how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 

BLOOD BLESSING #4: CLEANSING OF OUR CONSCIENCE

The answer to the question in verse 14 is that the blood will cleanse the conscience completely. Understanding the nature of our conscience is essential to it being cleansed as God intended. Conscience is the part of our individual humanity that is stamped with God’s image, as we are made in His image. This moral impression of God’s character happens at some point during procreation, where God does what He does.

Related imageAs it often is with things concerning man, it is Christ Himself, who is the point of our contact with God’s image. In John 1:9 we find Christ as the Light of the world and that “Light is the true Light which gives light to every man who comes into the world”. When you have time look at Hebrews 1:3, where we read Jesus is “the expressed image of the person of God”; in the study of the phrase “expressed image” you will find another illustrative understanding of this truth.

It is our conscience that calls to us, even though it has been horribly damaged in the fall,  when we are stepping over God’s moral law or boundaries. This is what is generally felt in all humanity as that sense of “right and wrong”. When we sin, before being in Christ, we defile our conscience, and it accuses us before God. We either ignore it, or seek to cleanse it ourselves through religion or good deeds or heroic acts, or simply as the president says by “doing better”.

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It is the desire to cleanse our conscience, as humans, that leads to so much useless and vain religion. Our conscience knows there is a Day of Reckoning, whether our humanity believes in the One True God or not and like an automatic program will cause our humanity to seek absolution. Consider the Hindu, who makes pilgrimage to the Ganges River to bathe in its “holy waters” for the washing away of sins. This river’s supposed powers are only as good as the person who never sins again, therefore yearly the devout must make the trip to the Ganges “holy waters”, which in actuality is a disease infested body of water, where unwanted and aborted girls, animals, un-buried improperly cremated bodies and other undesirables are dumped.

This is just one of the thousands of ways we humans apart from the only Anointment God provides in Christ, seek to cleanse our consciences. These practices may assuage our guilt, but will never cleanse our God given conscience. Yet by the blood of Christ, if we receive Him by faith, we will find our cleansing of conscience, which is essential to our Christian character (I Timothy 1:5; 1:19, 3:9).

Although Christ’s blood cleanses our conscience by faith the moment we believe, we are called to aid in keeping it so, by refusing to sin and when we do by walking in God’s prescription for ongoing cleansing (I John 1:7-9). Herein lies the problem. As we found in our previous post, Christ’s blood is reparation for war. We are glad we are no longer at war with God, yet sometimes, our humanity behaves and thinks as if God is still against us, as if there has been no peace made. Our passage in Hebrews 9:14 alludes to this when it declares “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” 

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What’s happening in the context of this passage, in fact the entire book, is that Jewish believers in Christ are being threatened by O.T. Jews to leave the body of Christ and return to Judaism. The Book of Hebrews is a treatise on the supremacy of Christ over all O.T. religion. Therefore, the holy Spirit is reminding them first and foremost not to return to a system of “dead works” or legalistic religion, for Christ’s blood has cleansed their consciences from them. Despite this fact it was possible for them and for us to begin to feel and think we are not cleansed or at peace with god and return to dead works. This was a regular and harmful intrusion in the early church (Check out Paul’s rebuke of the church in Galatians 3:1-4). When this happens it is spiritual shell shock or P.T.S.D.

When we were at war with God, our battles against Him left spiritual scars in our wounded conscience and mental processes, forging deep patterned memories. Although Christ’s blood cleanses our account, washes away the “dead works” and has provided for healing, we understand its practical implementation is a work in progress.  Therefore, when we fail or when bad stuff occurs, we may begin to think in those old wounded conscience patterns…

“I need to make this right with God”

“God must be mad at me, or not love me any more”

“I need to gain His favor back”

“What kind of a hypocrite am I,  how can I even share my faith if I keep messing up?”

We may begin a pattern of practice that is seeking to regain our footing, yet falls into a rinse and repeat cycle, that leaves out the rinsing. This spiritual PTSD damages, frustrates, and is the reason many experience little joy in their walk with Christ, fall into more destructive sin behavior, walk away from the church in shame, or even god forbid give up on Christ completely.

Jesus did not shed His blood so that you would believe God is mad at you, is holding out on you, is being unfair to you, or is powerless to enable you to overcome. His blood has never and will never lose its power to cleanse our conscience.

The best safe guard I know is to remember. You and I have never and will never be righteous enough to gain his favor or affirmation. This is why Jesus came in the flesh and God only accepts you in Christ, therefore, until that time you’re good enough or have done enough to surpass Jesus’ perfect works (which it will never happen) reject your old wounded way of thinking, established before you were in Christ, when your conscience was defiled. Receive Jesus’ cleansing blood on your behalf and start living in the power of God’s Spirit.

If you truly believe what the word of God says about the blood, cease to allow your feelings of I am not good enough for them (church) or God, justify living a moral life when it is easy, or even giving in when your flesh wants to live dangerously. Don’t try to be better by the ramping up our bible reading, church attendance and charity. REPENT, walk away from guilt (which really is a sinful choice) and live in Christ. Simply be who you were saved to be by faith and obedience.

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To “Know Him” Is Worth the Pain #2

Related imageIn Part #1 of this blog series we began considering the cost of Paul’s prayer “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection” from Philippians 3:10. Simply stated, the cost is to be set apart for Christ, having surrendered all for the sake of Christ’s glory (check out Philippians 3:7-9 to understand part one of the cost). Most Christians upon hearing of the cost, would agree to “know” Jesus intimately and be filled with the “power of His resurrection” is worth the pain. Yet we must dig further in order to fully understand the blessing and cost for desiring to know Him and the power of His resurrection”.

(If you have yet to read the first part of this blog To “Know Him” Is Worth the Pain, click here… https://4rs4thechurch.com/2018/06/28/to-know-him-is-worth-the-pain-1/)

(Philippians 3:10) That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

At first glance there is a natural want to spiritualize the powerful truth contained in the phrases “fellowship of His sufferings” and “being made conformable to His death”. To do this would be a terrible and egregious error, for If we want to receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit, which is to “know Him and the power of His resurrection”, we must share in the fellowship of His sufferings”. Yes we must consider this as a cost, but it is also a distinct and blessed privilege.

(Philippians 1:29) For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.

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This privilege and cost is not just for the elite but the rank and file believer as well; as for all early believers as well (John 15:18-21). Yet what does it mean to share in the fellowship of His sufferings? The word “fellowship” means to partake or participate in another’s experience. In this case it means to enter into similar sufferings encountered by Jesus, because like Him we live totally for God’s will. This does not always mean we literally need to die a horrible death, but what it does mean is daily we must lay our lives down for Him. Please read the following passages to understand what it means to share in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings.

  1. (John 15:18-21) Sharing in the “fellowship of His sufferings” means we stand out like a flame in the darkness, because our lives are so different than those around us; our lives reveal God’s holy character, His judgment, humanity’s sin and God’s remedy in Christ.
  2. (Jeremiah 15:15-18) Sharing in the “fellowship of His sufferings” means like Jeremiah we have such an inward passion for God’s will, by the Holy Spirit’s fullness, it must come out, which forces isolation and wounds by those you love, who abandon you as you are abandoned to Christ.
  3. (Isaiah 53:3-4) Sharing in the “fellowship of His sufferings” means we become despised, rejected, acquainted with grief, like a consistent unwanted companion.
  4. (Isaiah 53:4) Sharing in the “fellowship of His sufferings” means instead of being vindicated for the good in us, we have the shame of other’s sin laid upon us. When others sin, we are blamed.
  5. (Isaiah 50:4-5) Sharing in the “fellowship of His sufferings” means despite the pain of sharing in Christ’s sufferings, instead of turning away God speaks calling us to greater obedience.
  6. (Isaiah 50:6-7) Sharing in the “fellowship of His sufferings” means we who are being made conformable to His death are to gladly suffer the loss of all things (Philippians 3:7-9), as Paul described and ultimately lived daily in the truth “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippines 1:21)

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This may seem too much to ask, but what of Jesus Himself. Let us consider that Jesus is the Living Word of God. Before writing was invented, He knew that one day, as the only Begotten Son of God, He would be formed in human flesh, live perfectly, be falsely accused, mocked and tortured to death; yet He suffered for us. So how do we participate with Him in His sufferings? As we experience the fellowship of His sufferings we must hold to the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5-8), rejoicing that we get to suffer on His behalf. All that being said, can we declare with confidence that those costs of knowing Jesus and the power of His resurrection are worth the pain? The answer is a resounding yes.

The cost is worth the pain, because we are guaranteed to see Jesus face to face, should we endure to the end (I John 3:1-3). This is the most important and enduring hope we have as believers in Christ, yet the cost is worth the pain, also because the road we travel in sharing in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings runs directly through the “Valley of the Shadow of Death”

(Psalm 23:4-5) Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.

Let us take note that in the difficulty of sharing in Christ’s sufferings, we know “You are with me” and not only do we know He is with us, but we received copious blessing in the midst of that trouble.

Therefore the cost is worth the pain because…

  1. His sufferings reveal hidden things unseen outside the fire of affliction (Psalm 119:67, 71).
  2. The fellowship of sufferings is where we encounter Abba’s love greatest (Romans 8:14-17)
  3. Sufferings make us hungry for heaven (Romans 8:18; II Corinthians 4:17; I John 3:1-3). Hold on to His promises.
  4. In the fellowship of suffering we can excel in loving Jesus with the love He gave us in the cross (Hebrews 12:2).

Knowing Jesus and the power of His resurrection is worth the pain!

Posted in Philippians 1:27-29, Philippians 3:10, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, to share in the fellowship of His sufferings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

To “Know Him” Is Worth the Pain #1

Govan-by-Mark-KeralyA virtuoso is defined as a person supremely skilled in music or another artistic pursuit.  Many of America’s cultural and entertainment icons are virtuoso’s. These virtuoso types leave no shortage of moments that inspire. If given a little bit of time, most people could recall an inspirational performance that brought them to their feet in applause. Despite this relative truth, few of those who applaud consider that virtuoso’s necessary extraordinary sacrifice, in order to be a prodigy.

Although born with natural abilities others are not endowed with, the virtuoso still has to pay the heavy price of practice, trial and error, failure and success, isolation for their art or sport, sacrificing lesser social allowances and even human relationships to be one with their virtuosity. Many of them are asked the question after years of success “Was it worth the pain and struggle to get to where you are today?”

Over the past three weeks I have been reminded that God intends all His children in Christ to be virtuoso, to the degree of faith they are given. All of us are called to be salt and light. All are called to be holy as He is holy. All are called to be filled with all the fullness of God by the Holy Spirit. All are called to love God with all of who we are, just like Jesus, who is VIRTUOSITY. Yet there is a price to pay, for the reward of being born again from above and walking as extraordinary men and woman redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Yet is it worth the pain?

You may find that a strange question but Jesus suggests strongly that we count the cost of being His disciples. If we will be disciples of any remarkable quality at all, we must be (or as it is in Greek “be being”) filled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore we must count the cost of being filled with the Holy Spirit and ask, is it worth the pain? Let us take a look at Philippians 3:10 to begin our journey.

That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead”.

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that I may know Him” is another way of expressing the fullness of the Holy Spirit, as the ‘know” written refers to the unity of the believer and Christ. What follower of Christ would not want to “know” Jesus Christ? Is there any better pay off in this life? The answer would be “NO”, but remember to “know” Jesus does have a steep cost. Let’s talk cost and payoff in the now. Let’s consider the virtuoso musician again.

Many have spent countless frustrating hours and lots of money to mimic the inspiring talent of their favorite virtuoso musician. Almost all fail to attain anything close to their favorites prodigious playing, because their favorite is gifted. Despite this gifting, most virtuoso’s are not born with ability to pick up and play their instrument that way the first time. In fact they spend years of hours, picking up their instrument, knowing it, failing, practicing more, succeeding, failure again and finally gaining recognition.

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Consider the case of Stevie Ray Vaughn, the blues guitarist who inspired me, long before I ever picked up a guitar. When he died in a plane crash in August of 1990 I cried. I remember I was on my way to my summer job, hearing the news on my hometown rock radio station.  They played the song “The Sky is Cry’in” one of his hits. I wept. This man could flat out play his guitar like no other. His first guitar “Lenny” (pictured to the right) was a Fender Stratocaster, he named after his first wife “Lenny”. He knew that guitar better than his wife. Through calluses, failures, pain and persevering unto success, he became one of the all time greats with that instrument. Stevie Ray Vaughn had to “know” his guitar “Lenny” intimately.

“That I may know Him” has a similar ring, albeit of the utmost importance to the soul of the Christian, as we are to be virtuoso Christians, inspiring others to pick up Christ. This takes more than biblical knowledge of Jesus. Although knowing about Jesus, from the bible is necessary to “know Him” as Paul prays—and is the foundation of the reforming of the mind (Romans 12:2) —and the framework for us to experience Jesus personally—alone (biblical facts about Jesus) would be like me picking “Lenny” up back in 1990. At that time I had facts about the guitar but no clue how to play one. Let’s just agree I would not have made any beautiful music.

Sadly this kind of fact knowing hinders many Christians in knowing Jesus intimately, same as the religious scholars at the time of Christ’s birth did not know God intimately. We remember when Herod wanted to know where the Christ would be born, those with the bible facts about Messiah’s birth knew the location (from Micah 5:2), but were not moved to find Him for themselves. Consider the Pharisee’s who knew all about the Messiah, yet did not accept Him because they did not “know” God (Mark 7:6-8). These men knew facts about God, but did not know God.

To know Jesus means to know Him, by interaction and handling Him.

(I John 1:1) That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled concerning the word of life—

Consider once more “Lenny”, both Stevie Ray Vaughn’s first wife and guitar. He sadly divorced his wife, but never the guitar. He knew every shape and curve of the guitar and perfected his playing on it. He was able to make her squawk, squeal, sustain and growl at will. In his hands there was no division between himself and his instrument. The guitar was an extension of him. “Lenny” and Stevie were one. This helps us understand the phrase to “Know Him”. As we find in I John 1:1, the disciples had word of God knowledge of Messiah, but they knew Him by experience.

We are to know Jesus the same way by the fullness of the Holy Spirit. In this we “hear” and “see” and “look upon” and “handle”… “The Word of Life”, who is the Person of Jesus Christ. In this we “know” Him, yet this takes setting ourselves apart, like the virtuoso musician, dedicated 24/7 to our purpose. To “know” Him is also our being instruments in His hands and Him being in us as King and life conductor.

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An even closer biblical analogy comes from the meaning of the Greek word for “know”, which is used to describe how a husband or wife “know” one another in the consummation of the marriage; where life can come forth in procreation. This in human terms is one soul, spirit and body (in a one flesh union). Linking “that I may know Him” with “the power of His resurrection” brings the payoff: Our partnering with Jesus in resurrection power to bring new birth in others. Who would not want to experience that? Yet Let us remember the cost is higher than that of a musician who is fixated on his instrument, and seeking the fleeting glory that comes from fame.

The cost is to daily look to the author and finisher of our faith. The cost is to separate ourselves from the world the flesh and the devil, that we would not be compromised in carnality. The cost is to be available and set apart for His direction 24/7, where we seek to isolate from the noise of normal human life, to hear His voice leading (Proverbs 3:5-7).

When we accept the cost, Jesus will pluck our lives as the Master musician, making our lives a song which brings Him glory. That is definitely worth the initial cost, yet those who find they are beginning to “know” Jesus this way will begin to experience a new cost that is indeed painful… ““That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings...” in our next post we will explore the meaning of “the fellowship of His sufferings” and again ask “Is knowing Jesus worth the pain?”

Posted in "Lenny" Stratocaster, counting the cost, It's Worth the Pain, married to Christ, Philippians 3:10, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blood Blessings: Peace (Colossians 1:19-21)

Thus far we have discovered two wonderful blessings which flow from Jesus shed blood…

  1. We are freed and Redeemed
  2. We are forgiven through His shed Blood

In today’s post we will consider a third blessing, that of having peace with God. Let us consider Colossians 1:19-21.

(Colossians 1:19-21) For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now has He reconciled.

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In the this passage we discover 4 necessary phrases to our understanding the peace we gain through Jesus shed blood:

  1. having made peace
  2. through the blood of His cross
  3. you,… were… enemies in your minds
  4. yet now He has reconciled you.

 THE KIND OF PEACE NEEDED

It is imperative for the follower of Christ not only to grasp the meaning of this peace, but also to live rejoicing in it. The phrase “made peace” means to bind together in a treaty like agreement. This indicates the peace Jesus made, through the shedding of His blood, brought together two warring factions: God and men created in His image.

Most will agree with the biblical truth that all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and are in need of forgiveness, but all men being born at war with God? To many this may seem an overstatement, although biblically it is not. In an effort to gain a fuller understanding of this, let us first consider God’s view of men born into sin.

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(Psalm 14:1-3) The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good. The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, no not one.

(Isaiah 53:6) We all like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

 (Isaiah 64:6)But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags (used menstrual rags is the Hebrews idea); we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is no one who calls on the name of the LORD.

We could read passage after passage that reveals man is not a big fan of the way God see’s things. Whether we want to admit it or not, our unrighteous choices reveal a depth of animosity for God. Let us remember that His commandments are not burdensome, but men, apart from Christ behave as if they are.

In light of this reality let us consider how this cycles through the mind of religiously inclined men…

“I have not done all that bad”

“I am not hurting no one”

“God is ok with me, I believe”.

These three phrases are admittedly a broad brush stroke, but indicative of those who raise their own standard of righteousness in light of God’s standard, which is Himself (Romans 3:23); more specifically Jesus Christ the our righteousness and the Judge of the quick and the dead. Being that God himself is the standard and it is impossible for sin sick humanity to reach His glory, He chose grace through faith in Jesus righteousness and shed blood, to mitigate the gap. Praise God! But let us understand that our inherent default of choosing our own way, is to be a war with God

Colossians reiterates the serious need for peace, through Christ’s shed blood in verse 21 where it declaresAnd you, who once were alienated and enemies in your minds”. Clearly we are enemies, yet the word “reconcile” reveals the depth of our enemy hostility, for it means to change from enemy to friend. Further still the word “enemies”, in (vs. 21) reveals the degree to which we choose reject and be alienated from God, for the root of the word enemy, is the word enmity.

In biblical understanding enmity, means a person’s disposition is opposite the love of God. God’s love to humanity is the Greek word agape, and is understood as God giving grace and blessing freely to men, who justly deserve wrath, rather than grace. He loves men, who by birth are His enemies, and blesses man without considering whether man will love Him back.

His agape is displayed in loving His enemies as seen in Jesus “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. Romans 5:8-10 sums it up God’s love wonderfully.

(Romans 5:8-10) But god demonstrates His love toward us, in that while were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more the, having been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath though Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled , we shall be saved by His life.

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Now our enmity or enemy status against God is opposite of this wonderful love, meaning we are selfish by nature and therefore ignore God and His ways, if it impinges on our self-will. This is the nature of indwelling sin. To choose self over love is opposite of God, and therefore to be at war with Him. Aren’t you glad Christ’s made a way for redemption, forgiveness and for our war to be over with God, through His blood? Make no mistake His shed blood making peace with God for us, is as legal and binding as any peace treaty.

 WAR REPARATIONS MUST BE PAID TO KEEP PEACE

In most peace treaties, one party who is unable to continue must capitulate through surrender. After WWII the Nazi Germans surrendered unconditionally, which meant they had to do what was required by the Allied nations. Part of the conditions of the peace were reparations, or payments to the countries and people’s illegally devastated, in Germany’s attempt to take over the world.

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Perhaps the reparations on the German people, in their own nation were the most costly and effective. The allies knew the German populace did not have the ability to pay monetarily for their indifference to the suffering of the holocaust and its victims. Therefore, the allied forces scheduled required days for the populations that surrounded the death camps to come for a visit. Pictures reveal a smiling Germany on the way in to the camps, as they too were tired of Hitler and perpetual war. Pictures also reveal a sickened, saddened, retching and besides themselves population on the way out. Their reparations were to see the horrors and atrocities of thousands of dead skeletal bodies, tortured, gassed and mutilated, as they ignored the agenda of the death camps.

We who are born into sin and enemies of God, also have war reparations that must be paid, which we are unable to pay. Understanding reparations as chastisement, an unpleasant pain to be remembered (that we would no longer offend), Let us see Jesus shed blood is our war reparation. This is as remarkable as it is heartbreaking, when considering the cost to Jesus (Isaiah 53:5) “the chastisement of our peace was upon Him”.

For God, simply paying the sin debt and the penalty due (Jesus death) was not enough to restore us, reparation in the same currency (blood) needed to be made. This was for the purpose of our being transformed, or healed… “The chastisement of our peace was upon Him and by His wounds, we have been healed”.  Our reparation were paid by Jesus being scourged by the Romans before He was crucified. Isaiah 50:5-6, declares Jesus did this willing. He took the chastisement we deserved.

by his wounds we are healed

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The word “wounds” is more accurately translated in KJV Bible as “stripes”. The word “stripes” in the Hebrew language is a unique singular plural kind of word. Here is the definition in view of Christ sufferings: Jesus the Christ received so many singular stripes and lashes, that His body became one STRIPE. Consider these reparations were  He paid for you and I, by 9 leather straps with lead balls and bone sewn in, for the purpose of bruise and  opening those bruises, as the pull the flesh was pulled apart. With each lash, a canyon of reparation was opened in Jesus body—where almost instantly blood for cleansing flowed. With this cleansing flow healing for your spirit (now alive to relationship with Abba), soul (you are a new creation, with a new heart of righteousness) and body (to reverse the curse of sin in your physical man), were made available to you and I by faith.

Oh the Blood of Jesus, Oh the Blood of Jesus… Rejoice forever and receive all the blessing His blood made possible to you… Peace with God… Healing of your entire person… and Power to live righteously in Him.

Posted in Colossians 1:19-21, Ephesians 1:7, the blood of Jesus, The Blood of the Cross, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Best of Intentions, are not Good Enough!

Image result for regretI have recently been reminded, very loudly, that having the best of intentions in living for Christ, is of little value, if we do not properly execute those intentions. In 20 years of following Christ, I can say, that I have consistently done my best to live for Jesus according to His word and as led by His Spirit. In 20 years He has enabled me to live with others in mind before myself (huge miracle for I was totally selfish)–Jesus has enabled me to be aware of others who were in need of the truth of Christ, even when I was hurting or less than my best–by the Holy Spirit, when wrong, He has led me to do my best to make it right. This is not an illustration of my goodness, but in praise of Him, because He changed my heart. I have lived with the best of intentions, but alas, the best of intentions is not good enough.

(Hebrews 12:1) “therefore seeing you are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which easily entangles us, and run with patience the race set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…

This was one of the first passages I committed to memory when I began to meditate on God’s word. I have attempted to live its precepts with the best motive and intention for 20 years. Yet, I have failed, at times, forgetting the witnesses looking on–while getting tired by the weight I have not fully taken off–or tripping over the sin, I thought I had previously overcome. Though having the best of intentions, my lack of execution in the power of God’s Spirit is what has to often been seen. I wonder if you can equate?

Walking in this fashion a little or a lot gives poor testimony to Jesus, and allows others to disregard the truth we speak as gospel, no matter how much we lay it on them. Of course, those who will reject the truth based on another person’s poor testimony or sincere efforts which fall short are inclined to refuse it anyway; as they are looking for an excuse. Regardless of their disposition, when we fail we can  give the enemies of the Lord a reason to blaspheme. Yet also, though not wanting to admit it, there are times where our lack of execution hurts the least of these His brethren and that is a perilous thing indeed (Luke 17:2).

I am thankful, that God is merciful and forgives the truly repentant, yet we must understand that our lack of execution, even with the best of intentions, has far reaching ramifications. Let’s not forget king David, “a man after God’s own heart”. After an adulterous affair, where David was exposed by a prophet and repented, he still had to deal with the far reaching affects of his sin…

(2 Samuel 12:13-14) And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.”

(2 Samuel 12:10-11) Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house;

David’s was a blessed life, but with regret, for the few things he lacked execution in concerning the will of the Lord. I have regret and you have regret. Most likely we have not committed murder or adultery as he did, but we have abused others with our tongue, practice spiritual adultery at times, refused to obey the word of God at other times, and been far too ignorant for far to long concerning strongholds and sin, which ought to be apparent. In short, we have had the best of intentions and sometimes been careless about execution, as God words declares we can an are to live.

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Lets redouble our efforts in being led by the Holy Spirit, to avoid further regret. Let’s live with the best of intentions from God’s word–Refuse to give in to our flesh in moments of weakness and wait on Him for strength. Those who live for God with the best of intentions and blow the execution are forgiven, if they continue in the faith. But alas, they may live a life weighed down with regret, at the loss accrued because of their failures. Let us remember that He has given us all we need for live life and godliness, that we live free of regret.

Posted in II Samuel 12, regret, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blood Blessings: Forgiven (Ephesians 1:7)

Thus far in this series on the power and blessing of Jesus’ blood, we have discovered why the only true God chose blood of the Messiah to deal with humanity’s sin and sought to understand the first of four Blood Blessings… We are BOUGHT with a Price. This first blood blessing comes in two parts, as we discovered in the last posting…

  1. Our being freed from slavery and
  2. Our being bought as His possessions.

*(To review or read the two and three from this series please click here for Blood Blessings #3 or here for Blood Blessings #2).

Today we will dive into the refreshing stream of Blood Blessing #2… Being of the Hook for our sin (or forgiven).

(Ephesians 1:7) We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.

forgiven

Forgiveness of sin is a serious and weighty matter, when considering the blood of Christ. The word of God proclaims “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin”. We may not be familiar with the word “remission” or “remittance”, but no worries, as the words simply mean to have a receipt. A receipt, declares something to be paid in full, all charges are gone. This is important for the wages or charges of sin, which is death (Romans 6:23), compound more than a missed credit card payment; yet the payment for these charges is Christ’s shed blood. This was not a blood donation, but of a torturous payment for every criminal charge against us.

Christ’s shed blood was not only the price to purchase us and pay our sin debt, but also the punishment our sin required to be forgiven or receive “remission”. To get around this “squeamish” reality, we may without thought, seek to diminish the means by which the blood was shed. Jesus received the punishment we deserved. Let us consider the suffering we deserved.

Separation from God

We get a glimpse of this in Christ’s perfect humanity, as He cries out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” In that moment, Jesus suffered the collective weight of all humanities deserved punishment for sin. He felt the eternal separation all men deserve, so that we would not have to suffer the “second death” in the lake of fire for all eternity. The event of Christ’s blood shedding atonement was a transaction of transfer: our sins placed on His holy body, which caused the relational separation from the Father He felt: and His perfect righteousness applied to us, declaring us not guilty!!! We are off the hook! II Corinthians 5:21 states this truth wonderfully…

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”.

Hallelujah! This means Paid In Full, or the penalty of our sin was paid in real pain. Our receipt to this transaction is remarkable and sobering. Let us consider the word of God.

(Colossians 2:14-15) having wiped out the handwriting of requirements against us (the penalty of death owed for our sin… parentheses added mine), which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Our Indictment Taken out of the Way

having nailed it to the cross” is quite a remarkable statement, for there was no paper nailed to the cross. There was only of the Savior Jesus Christ. May the following truth floor us all in awe and reverence of our God.

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Colossians 2:14-15 refers to a literal legal document we know as an “indictment”. An indictment is a piece of paper, which lists the charges against a criminal and the punishment that fits the crime. These legal documents carry the fate of the person who’s name is on them. When a person is found guilty this document declares the criminal’s punishment. All men are guilty before God’s bar of justice. Humanity’s indictment was written by being scratched, beaten, torn into and tortured into the Savior, over the course of His death. When He was nailed to the cross, and the last drop of blood necessary was shed, Jesus declared “It is finished”. This is when our “Indictment nailed to the cross” was “taken out of the way”.

Let us not look at this truth as a past tense act, for whenever a soul turns to Christ in faith and repentance, this miracle of power is repeated, in addition to this truth, Jesus’ blood continues to reverse the curse, especially in the redeemed. Not only do we experience the clearing of the account from the moment we receive Christ by faith, but He practically cleanses our life actions, when we “miss the mark”, Because Jesus is ministering His shed blood even now for us.

(Hebrews 9:11-12) …Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place, once for all, having obtained eternal redemption…

(Hebrews 8:1-2) We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.

(Hebrews 7:25) Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

(Hebrews 2:18) For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

(I John 1:7) But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

(I John 1:9) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness

Even now for when we “miss the mark” (meaning we are trying to live Jesus’ way, do Jesus things and do Jesus’ will) and sin, should we continue in fellowship and confess the sin, we are forgiven (I John 1:7. 9); for the blood will never lose its power. But understand this is not a license to sin (Romans 6:1). In fact this powerful blood blessing, concerning forgiveness, can be hijacked into merely getting our ticket punched for entrance to heaven.

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Salvation is not a ticket to heaven, but this is the predominant view in America, in my opinion. Here is an overview of this warped teaching: Jesus died so you can be forgiven and henceforth, upon death or rapture, you receive a mansion on the hilltop, or more contemporaneous to the “Jefferson’s” “A DE-LUX apartment in the SKY-Y-Y”. Let us remember salvation is not about our entrance into heaven, or seeing your dearly departed loved ones when you arrive (as great as that will be). Salvation is a person, “The Lord is my light and my Salvation” (Psalm 27:1).

The message of the cross is the power of God unto salvation, because we are saved to enjoy the presence of the One who is SALVATION: Yeshua Hamashiach. In this life now, this means Christ in us the “hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). In the eternal life to come, this means seeing Him face to face (I John 3:1-3). Salvation is not about “Move’in on Up”,

Why is this error so prevalent? Keith Lungaard deals with this in His book “The Enemy Within”. The author outlines the problem as choosing to receive the remedy of grace, while ignoring the design of grace. The remedy of grace is the blessing of being forgiven, where we are able to attain the design of grace, which is to be made holy.

(Titus 2:11-12) For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

When we focus on the remedy of grace, and look to heaven’s golden streets and mansions of our pleasure, we miss the design of grace and the purpose of Heaven: being with Jesus Christ.

Forgiveness is a powerful blood blessing for us to live in, so long as we keep it tethered to the reason for forgiveness, which is Christ’s holy presence with us, in order to make us holy.

Posted in Colossians 2:14-15, Ephesians 1:7, The blessed hope, the blood of Jesus, The Blood of the Cross, the Lamb of God, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blood Blessings: Redemption (Ephesians 1:7)

(Ephesians 1:7) In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.

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Over the course of two postings we considered the “why” of the Messiah’s shed blood. Knowing the mind of God in the “why” of the blood of Christ is necessary in diving in to the blessings attained, through Christ’s shed blood. It must be stated from the outset, that these “Blood Blessings” are wonderful indeed, yet each one will challenge the independent self-will of the “old man” still attached to every born again soul (Romans 7:24). That being said, let us begin with “In Him we have redemption through His blood…”

The word “redemption” means to pay the purchase price of a slave, for the purchase of owning them or setting them free”. Concerning redemption, Jesus blood, redemption deals with…

  1. Our being freed from slavery and
  2. Our being bought as His possessions.

THE SIN DEBT MAKING US SLAVES IS PAID

In the first place, let us understand that all men, regardless of race, creed or economic status, and sex are born into the slavery of sin, as the scripture declares we are all “carnal sold under sin” (Romans 7:14). The former quote refers to Adam’s choice to disobey God’s command; a choice which sold the entire human race to sin.  In this sin slavery we were chained by and subservient to sin and its evil desire raging in our humanity. In this slavery we are born with a raging internal cancer; one which drags us away from the good and holy desires of the God that created us. This sin-slavery keeps us from freely serving God by faith and walking in true righteousness. It also leads to our death (sin, sickness) physically, and forever in the second death.

Like the inherited physical looks, mannerisms, and tendencies, we inherit from our parents, so we all inherit the look, mannerisms and tendencies of sin slavery; with the chains that enslave us to choose our will, rather than God’s. The only way this power is broken, is by the power of Christ’s shed blood and resurrection from the dead. This was the outcry Paul voiced for those seeking freedom from this slavery in Romans 7:24 “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Christ Jesus our Lord!”  It is also the truth behind the rate of exchange on the payment (or redemption price) for our sin, in Romans 6:23

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!

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The only way for the chains to be broken, is the debt being paid in full by death, through the shedding of sufficient blood.  The blood of Jesus the Christ was the only sufficient currency to pay our sin debt. Until the time this payment is applied by our faith in Christ, no matter how good or religious we think we are, we are under God’s wrath. Many in error regarding this truth will attempt to pay their debt by works and partaking in religious sacraments, which have value in displaying our faith, but no value in paying our sin debt, or being a channel of grace. They forget a vital truth, the truth revealing why Christ’s blood was all sufficient for our debt.

(Philippians 2:5-9)Let this mind be in you, which was in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Jesus came in the likeness of men, as a bond servant for the purpose of living the life we could not. Therefore, each drop of Christ’s shed blood at the cross was like a gold coin falling into a treasury and sounds the chorus of our freedom in heaven. His blood was overly abundant in paying our debt, that we might no longer be slaves to sin. This is no past tense act, but present as Jesus is The Savior of all men, especially those who believe (I Timothy 4:10).

Only those who come in faith and repentance have their account cleared forever of the debt to sin they owe. Jesus’ blood alone, being perfectly righteous, pays the sin debt, opens the fountain of grace unreservedly, and brings about the second part of blood blessing #1

REDMEPTION MEANS WE BECOME HIS PURCHASE

Let us not gloss over the exquisite pain of Jesus bloodletting on our behalf and why He did it in light of the terror of that passion. Crucifixion is one of the most heinous and inhumane ways to kill a person made in the image of God. Without rehearsing details we have all heard, let us consider that Jesus’ scourging alone should have killed Him, yet He persisted through 18 hours of torture altogether. He would not let go of life, until every ounce of righteous blood needing to be shed, was shed. Only then did He declare “it is finished”. Let us remember that He WILLINGLY did this as THE act of God’s love

(Romans 5:8) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we are still sinners, Christ died for us.

The Messiah finished the work necessary also for the sake of JOY.

(Hebrews 12:2) looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame and has set down at the right hand of God

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What was this joy? Certainly rising from the dead, defeating the devil and being reunited on the third day with His doubting disciples, as well as ascending into heaven and being reunited with the glory of heaven, He shared before the foundation of the world. Yet, these wonderful realities were not the only source of His joy. You and I no longer being slaves to sin, filled Him with joy. I believe this for a very biblical reason… The word redemption, which means to pay the price required to purchase a slave. The joy that kept Jesus keep ‘in on in His crucifixion, was because of those who would by faith, becomes His very own possessions.

(Titus 2:11-14) For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works”.

Here is the part of redemption we often overlook or ignore to our own detriment. Blood Blessing #1 is that we become Christ’s possession, plain and simple. As Jesus had no will of His own, but that of His Father, we, as His possessions are to have no will other than that of Jesus. We are to pursue His will for the sake of love, as He pursued His Father’s will, for the sake of love. From another angle, He bought us with His own blood to set us free from the dominion of sin, but for the purpose of our becoming His bond-slaves to righteousness. The N.T. is very clear about this end of redemption…

(I Corinthians 6:19-20) Or do you not know your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

To miss this truth and live as if we are His possession, yet “kings and queens” over our own lives, is to count the blood of Christ a common thing.

Let me ask a few questions:

When was the last time you witnessed the owner of a horse, being commanded by his horse, to allow the horse to ride its owner?

When was the last time, your automobile commanded you to push it to such and such a location?

When was the last time you heard of a house servant sitting in his master’s chair and demands his master serve him dinner?

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The reason we probably have not heard of these scenarios is that possessions don’t demand from their owner, nor are the purchased for any other reason, than to serve at the pleasure of their owner. Why do so many of us behave as if God is our servant, where we instruct Him in what He must do for us? Why do we get frustrated when He does not do in our lives what we think is necessary? Often we are grateful for forgiveness and heaven when we die, but are we grateful for being His possessions, those set apart for Him alone? Are we grateful for the blood of Jesus and being His possession or are we treating  His blood as a necessary means to our own religious ends?

 

 

Posted in Ephesians 1:7, redemption through His blood, The blessed hope, the blood of Jesus, The Blood of the Cross, Uncategorized | Leave a comment