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Archive for May, 2012

You know what bothers me? The way we Christians can’t seem to get along.

Now I don’t expect everyone to agree with each other. God gave us minds and personalities and we are all different. But as I read different blogs and postings, I see a trend sometimes that is more than just disagreeing. It seems to get down right ugly sometimes.

Obviously we are going to disagree on things, but can’t we still disagree and yet respect and love the other person? It discourages me so much when I read a blog and go through the comments and see disagreements that turn into arguments. It gets to a point sometimes that I have to get away and stop reading.

I always wonder why it is we just can’t accept each others views and go on. Seems like a lot of people really get upset when they can’t get someone else to think the same way they do. We’ve got to go on and on, trying to prove our point or our way of thinking.

I know when you write a blog you are opening yourself up to comments and disagreements, but do we have to go to some of the extremes of getting mad and losing our tempers because someone else has a different viewpoint.

Aren’t we being just like the worldly crowd? Aren’t we supposed to be known as Christians by the love we have for one another.

Humans are never going to agree with others on every point, but we Christians should be able to disagree with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and yet do so in a way that the non-Christians will still be able to notice that extreme love we have for God and for one another.

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Living in Grace

There seems to be some confusion among Christians in regard to grace living and law living. I usually don’t write this long of an article, but felt the added scriptures were necessary to show that living by the law is no longer necessary, thanks to the grace Jesus provided.

I think the mistake a lot of  Christians make is that we don’t truly accept the whole idea of grace. Grace is a free gift given to us by God. When Jesus died, he took all our sins upon Himself and destroyed them, covering them with His blood. We were totally unable to fulfill the law and live a perfect life, so He lived a perfect life for us and then took our sinful nature upon Himself and provided salvation for all who would accept Him (Galatians 2:16, 19-21  nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified… For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly”).

He then put His perfect, righteous nature in us and made us sons and daughters of God. Nothing we did, and nothing we can do can add to it, or pay for it. It is a totally free gift provided by Christ. It is hard for us to accept this without feeling the need to do something to justify God’s love for us. We think that if we do this or that and don’t do this sin or that sin, then we are worthy to come to God. This is performance based living and not grace. Grace is a gift. Grace is God seeing us as perfect and righteous, not of our own doing, but the free gift provided by Jesus’ blood.

Jesus lived by the 10 commandments, but here is the important part, we need to remember that Jesus lived under the Old Covenant Law (Galatians 4:4,5 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons). Jesus had to live by and obey all the commandments, ceremonial rules and laws so He could fulfill the old covenant. Jesus said on the cross, ‘it is finished’, meaning He had lived under the Old Covenant, lived a perfect life and fulfilled the law, thereby making Him the perfect sacrificial Lamb that would take away the sins of the world.

Not until the time of His death and resurrection was the Law fulfilled and a New Agreement took effect. The new covenant did not start until this time. This new agreement is one in which we live by grace, and not by trying to fulfill the Law, which we never could do in the first place. That is why Jesus came to earth, because we could not live a perfect life and keep all the commands and laws of the Old Agreement. So since the old covenant has been fulfilled and we live by grace, why do so many of us still feel a need to try to live by old testament rules and regulations, since we never could do it anyway? Why do we seem to want to put ourselves back under slavery to an old testament set of rules when Christ has already fulfilled them and done away with that need (Galatians 5:1-4 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision (a part of the law), Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace). When we accepted Christ as our sacrifice, we in a sense died also. And since we died, we can now live free from the law (Romans 7:1-8 “Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.” What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “you shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead”).

Before grace, we could not live up to the law because we are an imperfect people. Now that Jesus has become our perfect sacrifice and fulfilled what we could not, we are saved by grace and we live a perfect sinless life in God’s eyes because of the gift He gave us. We are sinless in God’s eyes because of Christ, although we still fall from time to time in this life, it is all covered by the blood of Christ, where sin abounds, grace much more abounds. We are no longer required to live up to the Law that we couldn’t live up to in the first place. If we try to fulfill the Law but fall in just one area, we are guilty of all the law and worthy of death.

Now that we live by grace and faith in Jesus, the law, which was our tutor to point out our sin, is no longer needed (Galatians 3:23-26  But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor (the law). For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus). To say we need to live trying to obey the 10 commandments is saying that Jesus blood alone was not enough to cleanse us from our sins.

The Bible goes so far as to say that if we still try to live by obeying the old covenant law we live under a curse (Galatians 3:10-13 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “the righteous man shall live by faith.” However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “he who practices them shall live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us, for it is written, “cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”).

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect (Mat. 5:43-48). Obviously there is no way we can do this on our own, and God wouldn’t have told us to be perfect without making a way for us to do it. The only way we can be perfect, is through grace. Accepting the free gift of grace through Christ will allow us to live out the new covenant commands of Christ, which are to accept Christ, love God and love others. The law that is mentioned under the new covenant is always to accept Jesus, love God and love others (Galatians 5:14  For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself”; (1 John 3:23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us); (1 John 4:21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also); (2 John 1:6  And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love). We are totally incapable of living up to the law and we are no longer required to do so. Christ died and by His grace, He put His righteousness in us and we are perfect and righteous in God’s sight.

God has provided such a fantastic gift of freedom for us, and most of us today just don’t realize all that entails. Because of grace, it is as though we have never sinned and will never sin. Not because of anything we have done, or can do, but because God loves us enough that he sent his Son to take our sins, past present and future, and because of His grace we stand perfect in the eyes of God. Now we need to walk in that freedom and follow the Spirit, loving God, loving others and not worry about the old covenant law, but live a life for God through love (Galatians 5:16-18  But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law).

Thanks be to God, we now live in grace, not trying to live up to rules and laws that we cannot do on our own, being free in Christ and living a life of love for God and for all we come in contact. We no longer do things because we are bad or displeasing to God if we don’t, but now we do them because we love God and want to do what pleases Him.

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Ever wonder why people are so quick to condemn others? Especially when it comes to areas where they don’t have a problem. They want to point out the mistakes we’ve made mainly because it makes them feel better about themselves. More than likely they haven’t made that particular mistake, so condemning you makes them feel better about other areas of their life.

What about the spiritually self-righteous who feel they are better than everyone else. They think they’ve lived a life of good works, church attendance and not being involved in specific actions that are ‘wrong’. This makes them feel better and able to tell other people how bad they are.

Seems everyone forgets that we all have messed up, we all have failed in one point or another and none of us are worthy of salvation. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

Thankfully through Christ and the free gift He provided by living a perfect life, fulfilling the Old Testament Law, and by His death being the sacrifice for us, we can be forgiven of our sins and be made the righteousness of God.

We really need to stop arguing and pointing out mistakes of others. It is not our job to condemn people, nor is it our job to convert people. We are called to love others as we love ourselves, and it doesn’t say only Christians, or only those who agree with us. Everyone has the right to be themselves. We are to be ready to love them and allow the Holy Spirit to use us when He wants, but it is His job to work in their lives to lead them to the Father. God loves us no matter what. There is nothing we can do to cause Him to love us more, and nothing we can do to cause Him to love us less.

People are all the same, they want to be loved and accepted. That is our job as Christians, to love and accept them for who they are and the way they are. No one is better than anyone else, it’s just that those who accept Christ and have their sins forgiven are seen by God as righteous because of Christ. There is nothing any of us can do to make anyone worthy of that gift.

We should not be going around looking down on anyone, condemning anyone, or thinking more highly of ourselves. Only by accepting grace through Christ, the free gift of God, can anyone be considered any different from anyone else, and that difference is being forgiven for all our sin, past, present and future.

If you are saved by grace, next time someone wants to point out a mistake or remind you of your past and says, “what would Jesus say about that”, just tell them that He would say…”you have been cleansed by my blood, you are perfect and righteous in my sight”.

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