Grace, law

The Complementariness of the Two Covenants

We must admit our limitations in understanding and appropriating the New Covenant, apart from the grace of God. What Grace is to the New Covenant is what Law is to the Old Covenant. The principles and purposes of God did not change because of the change in covenant. The Law God gave Israel is still the will of God in a general sense for mankind.
The Law (mainly the ten commandments) under the Old Covenant was resolved into one application with two expressions shortly before the New Covenant commenced: Love God and Love your neighbour (Matthew 22:37-40). “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (v.40). This is the heart of the entire law which becomes the focus of the human heart after that heart has been transformed – changed from a hard heart to a soft heart. And since this transformation was not available under the provisions of the Old Covenant, except for information about our sinful condition, God made a New Covenant that simply resolves the problem – God puts the law inside the heart so that there will be both a willingness and ability to obey.
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
Hebrews 8:7-8, 10
What then changed when God inaugurated the New Covenant?
Among other things, one keynote of the New Covenant is the change of priesthood that administers the Covenant. The priesthood itself represents the “life” that accompanies the Covenant. The sons of Levi were the priests under the Old Covenant, and the keynote of their lives is weakness. They themselves were not free from sin, which is the common problem of man. Therefore, as good as the Law of God, and the Covenant that brought it into effect was, the weakness of the priests themselves and the repeated sacrifice for sin became the common feature of life under the Old Covenant (Hebrews 10:1-4,11).
19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did (which is the New Covenant); by the which we draw nigh unto God.
23 And they truly were many priests (in the Old Covenant), because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death (lack of life that triumphs over sin and doesn’t die): Hebrews 7:19, 23 (emphasis & explanations mine)
The Law diagnoses the human condition
Let us bear in mind that the Law itself was given to reveal our problem. It was a sentence and confirmation of sin upon the entire human race. “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” (Galatians 3:22). The law is to confirm heaven’s position over the condition of man. There is no doubt here, all are concluded under sin. Everyone is found guilty of sin (Romans 3:19). This is done so that man can realize the reason for his predicaments.
After exhausting the options of psychiatry and psychotherapy, the very hidden cause, the first cause, behind all the wickedness, evil, lust, greed, avarice, corruption, jealousy, hypocrisy et al is sin. Unless we admit our sinfulness, we cannot make use of the divine remedy for our malady. This is the goal of the Old Covenant: to reveal the problem so that we can apply the appropriate solution.
The doctor diagnoses the patient first and then proffers the appropriate solution. Not knowing the cause of an illness is in itself a greater problem that can lead the sufferer to an earlier grave. Hence, the Law reveals our common problem as humans. Regardless of our diversities – racially, educationally, positionally, financially – all our peculiar ways of (mis-) behaviours come from one thing – sin.
The Law gives concrete evidence of our inherent sinfulness
Even though that is already self-evident in the Scriptures before the advent of the Law, God being just still fulfilled all righteousness by turning His principles into a legal document and allowed an entire dispensation for mankind to discover for itself its own depravity. So that man will be inexcusable before God, He showed man what to do (i.e. how to live), and it was soon clear that eating of that old tree of knowledge of good and evil, knowing right from wrong, is not the answer to the problem of evil.

The Law exposes the secret wickedness of our hearts

In fact, this knowledge has only made man selective and calculative such that we can behave ourselves when it is to our own advantage, and if otherwise, we can easily change our acts altogether. Hence, we realize that the tree of knowledge is not as helpful as we had imagined. It is a tree of options to the heart that is yet hard and untouched by the grace of God.
We can even use good things and good actions for questionable purposes, since the intention is hidden away in our hearts. For instance, as good as it is to give to those in need, there are all manner of premeditated evil that could accompany such “generosity”, anything between mildly controlling people’s choices to outright purchase of their conscience. A noble deed indeed, but corrupted by a well-concealed vice.
All of these, although exposed by the Law, remain unrestrained, not necessarily because man loves it so (although that is a very high possibility), but because he doesn’t know what to do to end it. This is the dilemma of everyman who has experienced the Old Covenant. (NOTE: There is a sense in which everyone goes through the Old Covenant (Law) first before entering into the New Covenant (Grace), because unless we experience (not just read about) the weakness of our human nature to obey God, we cannot have a proper valuation of the Grace of God).
Grace is the cure
And this is the very thing the Grace of God has been given for in the New Covenant to resolve in our lives. Therefore, that which is lacking in the Old Covenant is what is supplied in the New. Whereas the Law informs us only the Grace of God transforms us. Although, the Law offers an accurate diagnoses, that in itself does not treat the problem.
“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John 1:17
Those are two separate Covenants and Dispensations. However, we notice that what was the Law with Moses became Truth with our LORD Jesus Christ. Which means when we embrace the New Covenant, the Grace of God begins to work in us and the Law which alone can only bring us death (Romans 7:9) is converted to Truth which quickens us, makes us alive and keeps us from (spiritual) death. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1) Hallelujah!

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version.

Also, materials used from other sources does not imply endorsement. However, we are “endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” with ALL believers (Ephesians 4:3).

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Understanding the Law as God’s Ways (not just God’s rules)

“He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.” Psalm 103:7

The Law is righteous. It is God’s unchanging standard. The prophets were inspired speakers of God’s Laws. The Law itself can be understood as Principles, Programmes and Purposes of God. Principles are the fixed ideas guiding the divine nature of God and all His works. Programmes are the various dispensations with their specific goals. Purposes are the eternal, unchanging counsel of the Father.
When we talk about the Law, we are not particularly speaking of the 10 commandments in Exodus 20 and 603 more in Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy that was given to Israel as a nation. These were not only moral codes but constitutional rules for the new nation of Israel. In this sense, the Law is limitedly used.
And it is this understanding of the Law that underwent a change in the New Covenant. Since it is not correct to transfer a constitution of God’s particular dealings with a constituency, Israel, into a rule for the nations (Gentiles) who will enter into the kingdom of God. This does not in anyway discount the strategic place Israel occupies in God’s eternal programme.
However, the Law as Israel knew it was a mixture of moral codes and governmental procedures. But when we look at how the Law is variously described in Scriptures, it will be clear that it is not the Law in that limited sense as we come to know it through Moses, but it is the Law in its essential context of divine order and standard. Before we try to describe the Law further, let us look at how it is described in the Scriptures to make sense of it.

‘The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. [8] The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. [9] The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. [10] More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. [11] Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.” Psalm 19:7-11

When you look at the very many things we don’t have to do again because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the overriding of the New Covenant over the Old (Hebrews 8 & 10), it will be immediately clear to our hearts, that the Law is not primarily the codes that Israel knew. Those were limited to their own national experience. The Law is simply God’s ways. And what is God’s ways? It is the essence of instructions that each portion of Scriptures contain for our growth and learning that brings us up to the level of His LIFE.

We see David, a Prophet of God, gaining insight into the nature of the Law. He saw that the Law is perfect and it converts the soul, that is, it transforms into a life pleasing to the LORD. He described the Law in five other ways:
1. The Testimony of the Lord: it testifies of the Lord. That is, it bears the very nature of God. Wherever you find the Law, you have found a representation of the Lord. Which means each law testifies and expresses God. When the law is seen in a life as a lifestyle, it serves as a testimony of God’s presence, involvement and investment in that life.
2. The Statutes of the Lord: it shows the fixed nature of God and His ways. It is a governing decree divinely issued to establish God’s will in a matter. It is knowing God’s Will in a previously unclear matter.
3. The Commandment of the Lord: Specific directives given for our benefit. They are not advices. They are absolutes. They cannot be broken. You can only break yourself upon it.
4. The Fear of the Lord: God’s Word produces a genuine reverence for God in a life that is unmistakably sensed by others.
5. The Judgment of the Lord: It is God’s verdict. It should be your decision. No one can ever escape it. If you do not know the Law (God’s Will and Ways) as a way of life in this life, you will know it as a sentence in the next.
These are dimensions of the Law.
If you have understood the Law the way it was expressed in God’s Word, you will see that it is not amendable. Yet, it is so high that human ability by itself cannot reach it or fulfill it.
Hence, the first thing it achieves is to reveal our INABILITY to please God. The dwarfing, unsurpassable height of God’s Law puts all human efforts and ability to where they belong. No amount of reaching and struggling can reach it. The only result of striving by human effort is FAILING and FALLING.
Now, the fact that we are falling is not the fault of the Law. It is the fault of our inherited nature from Adam. The human nature that prides itself on its abilities and capacities must be disgraced before man can appreciate his need for help. Which is where grace comes in. Grace comes to those who realize their weaknesses and inability to please God (Romans 8:3, 8).
This does not nullify the Law; it actually serves the Law because it equips man to reach that previously unsurpassable height of God’s standard.

The Law is a revelation of God’s Ways that we are required to walk in, but we cannot walk in it unless we receive/accept the offer of God’s Grace in the New Covenant.

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:” Hebrews 8:10

The Law is God’s expectations; Grace is God’s provision to help us meet His own expectations.

How do we receive this provision?

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. [29] Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. [30] For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

This grace is in Christ Jesus. Stop struggling to be good, righteous and obedient. Come to the LORD Jesus and He will take the struggle off of you. His Grace will take over from your agonizing labours and instantly transform you to a saint. It is “…Not by might, nor by power…” It is by the Spirit of Grace (Zechariah 4:6-7).

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version.

Disclaimer: Using a quote or picture that mostly or fully represents what we have in mind does not imply agreement with or approval of a person’s general philosophy of life.

Picture Credit: Monergism

Grace, Life Mastery, Spirituality

Put on the New Man

“And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:24
God has not done more for any man than others. He has offered Himself in the same abundant measure to all those who seek Him (John 10:10). Whenever it looks like a believer is struggling to grow, to express the New Life and to shun the old ways, it can only be one thing: Wanting to live the New Life while retaining their freedom of choice, i.e. the classical case of “spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”.
What is Freewill?
Freedom of choice is not necessarily bad. God gave it to us. It is the freedom to decide whom to serve and follow, what will be our fate in this life and eternity, as well as everything in between. Without this freewill, God cannot have children/sons; He can only have robots. Hence, freewill, in its original, uncontaminated state, is the freedom to choose what God wills. Adam lived in what we can call a duration of probation until he violated his freewill and it became freedom to sin rather than freedom to please God.
He would have been perfected if he had used his freewill to shun the tree of knowledge of good and evil and eat of the tree of Life that was not forbidden. Perfection, in this case, is a state of being beyond the possibility of sin because freewill has chosen the ultimate gift, the LIFE of God; therefore, the Life that is chosen becomes permanent. This is exactly the same way sin became permanent in human experience because of the wrong choice of life by the first Adam, until redemption brought a way of escape to humanity through the last Adam, Jesus Christ. Please read Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7, Romans 5:17, 1 Corinthians 15:45)

Freewill is not freedom to sin, because sin was not yet a possibility for man when God made him; rather, it is the freedom to please God.

Since the introduction of sin into the world, freewill exercises and expresses itself as a liberty to do “anything”, especially that which is forbidden. Nobody is able to master that tendency except they have come to New Life in Christ and have submitted that freewill to God as a living sacrifice. Only those who are yielding to the “Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus” can experience freewill as a freedom to please God, rather than pleasing oneself.
The spirit of the mind is the place of change
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind” Ephesians 4:22-23
We put off the former way of life by knowing that sin can no longer have dominion over us (Romans 6:11) and using our freewill to turn down every emotional appeal to report or return back to our favourite sins. Something must happen to the mind for the victory to hold in our practical experiences. “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind” Both in putting off the old and putting on the new, there must be a transformation in the mind. The mind has been used to a certain way of life and by the repetition of certain behaviours, we have taught ourselves to act and react in a very predictable way.
One of the meaning of the word “spirit” in that scripture is “mental disposition”. The spirit of the mind, therefore, is the behavioural direction of a person’s mind in any given situation. This is understandably set as a principle, a fixed way of working that our mind has been accustomed to. To change that, we must know that we already have comprehensive victory in Christ Jesus, and because of this, we can choose to live above sin, in newness of life. The next thing will be to change the patterns of our behaviours or the settings of our mind.

The spirit of the mind must be renewed or else every effort to live out the New Life will be sabotaged by the accustomed thoughts, feelings, attitudes and habits of your mind. This is what makes a person to know the Scriptures, quote it, pray and fast, and still end up falling into sin again.

Resetting the mind
Another scripture that speaks about the renewing of the mind is Romans 12:1-2, and it gives us a proper understanding of how this resetting can be done.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
The only way to deal with the old man is to present your bodies a living sacrifice. The old man is the man of sin that you received at birth from Adam (Psalm 51:5). This man can only sin. It cannot be improved or rehabilitated. That was why it was crucified with Jesus on the cross (Romans 6:6). You will understand that if you know that Jesus was not on the cross for Himself, but for us, because He was never a sinner (John 14:30, Hebrews 4:15).
Let’s look at Romans 6:6 briefly: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” Once you know this, that the man that sins, that produces sin in you have been crucified with Jesus, then you need to know the reason why it was crucified. There are two “that”s in that scripture and we can summarize our conclusions thus: You must know that the reason why the “old man” was crucified is to (1) destroy the “body of sin” and (2) to take you out of the “civil service of sin”.
What is the body of sin?
It is the entire history you have with sin that has become a psychological complex. It is the recollection and memory of sin. This body of sin makes you to think that you are still enslaved to your peculiar sins. Meanwhile, it is just a memory but it can force itself into your thinking until you believe the lie that, that is still who you are. Remember, the old man is the sinner, and it has been finished on the cross. And it was so dealt with such that you can be armed to destroy the body of sin, and then live a life that is no longer subservient to sin in any way.
How do you destroy the body of sin?
That’s what the second part of Romans 12 is dealing with (in verse 2). The renewing of the mind is the resetting of the lifestyle of the redeemed man. It is the deliberate removal of ALL memory of sin from your mind until they are no longer the active agents of your behaviour. However, we remove these memories of sin by replacing them with promises of righteousness. This is a work of faith because the just (-ified) shall live by faith. You need to locate ALL that God says about you in Christ and let them dwell richly in you. Knowing and praying the promises of God is what makes you partake of the divine nature (righteousness) and elevate you above the corruptions that is in this world (2 Peter 1:4)

It is also a life time work that is focused on ONE kind of life, the LIFE of Jesus. The New Man we are putting on is created like God, that is, it is the very life of God installed into the created being called man (Genesis 1:27, 2:7, Romans 6:4-5). (NOTE: Always remember that God is the uncreated Creator)

How will you know that your mind is being renewed?
When you begin to prove the practicability of the will of God in your own life. When the will of God is no longer a demand you are seeing in the pages of Scriptures, but a living experience in your own life. So, what happens to your own freewill? It has been offered with your bodies (“bodies” meaning every part of your being) to God as a living sacrifice. Which means ,it has undergone death, the death of the experience of freewill as freedom to sin. And then it has been resurrected, the resurrection of freewill as freedom to please God.
“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection” Romans 6:5
Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Grace, Leadership

New Wine

The last days are upon us. The final work of the Holy Spirit has been in the making for centuries. God gave each generation a specific stewardship to recover an expression of divine life, a knowledge of scriptural truth and a further understanding of God’s purpose upon the earth. Sadly though, most works (revivals/movements) tend to focus more on the knowledge of scriptural truth, a little on the expression of divine life and perhaps nothing of the understanding of God’s eternal purpose.

Reformation not denomination

Most recovery of scriptural truths conscripted men into schools of thought that eventually hardened into what we now know as denominations. Usually when a truth is still fresh with a people, they are called a movement; but when the experience of truth has cooled down and hardened, they then become a denomination. As a movement, the people would have known a measure of Christ’s headship and the Spirit’s working of the Father’s purpose, but as the work becomes bigger, human wisdom tends to set in (usually disguised as a genuine concern for the work and the need to organize it), and the effort to organize God’s work normally reduces a reformation to a denomination.

Once a work is denominated, it reduces its global capacity to affect the entire body of Christ; because the points of their uniqueness (which is meant to be a recovery for the Universal Church) becomes misconstrued as a reason for division. While a true reformation focuses on the recovery of the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6), basically “content” rather than “container”, denominations tend to focus on the outward forms of these eternal realities (which is merely a maintenance of old experiences).  

While we cannot fault the exodus of men from earlier works when gripped by new scriptural truths, the subsequent organization of those who gathered around these truths, has always come short of the full thought of God. This has always made another reformation inevitable. Hence, it has been a cycle of revival (growth) – declension (cooling off) – another revival (recovery)… These observations ought to make us to seek the LORD, and not just coast along with the status quo. Let’s seek Him from the book of Luke chapter 5:33-39 to gain His counsel .

New Wine Skins Needed for the New Wine

Reformation proves at least two things: a generation that is resistant to the continuous work of the Spirit (old wine skins), and a remnant within that generation that are open to have the fullness of God (new wine skins).     

“And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?” Luke 5:33

Here is a comparison of three groups. The disciples of John, the disciples of the Pharisees and the disciples of Jesus. This already shows to us that men will always notice the distinctions that exists between different works. There was a sharp contrast between those who were following Jesus and those who were following John and the Pharisees. So, let us establish that every new work will usually have an expression of LIFE that all previous works may not understand.
The response of Jesus opens up a matter that must characterize any work of the Spirit that will not be terminated again by the subtle introduction of self (i.e. works of the flesh).

“And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.” Luke 5:34-35

Is there a problem with fasting? No! Does Jesus have an issue with fasting? No! He fasted Himself. But when it comes to the experience of His LIFE in His disciples, it was never a matter of coercion or “commandment”. That has been the unfortunate characteristics of many previous works. Many followers of those whom God used in the past always copy the life of their leaders without necessarily growing into it, which often makes the experience of these truth quite external. Hence, we see Jesus raising a question: “Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them?”
Every experience of truth has its root in an ongoing experience of the LORD Jesus Christ. For a truth to blossom in a life, it has to take root within and then germinate. All these is a matter of time. The import of what Jesus said is this: You cannot make someone do something that has not yet taken root within them, and does not naturally blossom as a matter of life. The word “make” has a lot of meaning for us. It seems to point to what is done by force. The bridegroom is still with them, so they cannot fast. When the bridegroom is taken away, then they will fast. Simple!
Hence, we see that the recovery associated with the LORD Jesus was not only a recovery of Truth, but it is a recovery of LIFE that leads uncompromisingly along the narrow Way. Which means that a single truth or a number of truths in God’s Word is not sufficient to produce God’s glorious purpose; it is the whole counsel of God, as we know it in the LIFE of Jesus, that has the capacity to sufficiently restore all lost truths, without setting anyone aside.

“Because strait is the gate, and NARROW IS THE WAY, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:14 Emphasis mine

There is no room for Compromise

“And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.” Luke 5:36-39

Having noted that the emphasis of God’s final recovery today is LIFE, as seen in the response of the LORD in the Scripture under consideration, we must now proceed to note a crucial qualification for that LIFE. This will explain why when God is doing a new thing, it almost always requires to stand apart from previous works, although that does not necessarily suggest divisiveness. We say this because that which previous works were privileged, under God, to recover are still relevant and must be recognized, however to enter into the new thing God is doing today, we will also need to allow the LORD to give it definition Himself.
As long as a generation refuses to progress with God into the next phase of His recovery, it stands the risk of being set aside by the LORD, as He moves on with those who are more open hearted and wholehearted enough to receive and fulfill His counsel. Therefore, when God wants to express Himself and His people have grown so rigid and hardened into systems of thought and traditions that antagonizes His will, He can only raise for Himself another people, with whom He will now fulfill His purpose. This is the principle at work in God’s rejection of Saul and the preparation/selection of David. Saul represents any generation, work, or movement that has frozen into a way of thinking that now hinders God. No matter how Samuel mourns for Saul, the only verdict of God is to fill up his horn with oil and anoint David (1 Samuel 16:1).
This is the way God does His work. He will not force any generation to change. Those who are stuck in the Old Covenant will have to be exempted as God moves on to fully unleash the greater glory of the New Covenant. Moses will have to shrink, as glorious as his face was, for Christ to be the only light with which we see and understand the Scriptures (2 Corinthians 3:1-18). And even the Holy Spirit, that is the Governor of our current dispensation, has only one central assignment: to glorify Jesus (John 16:13-14).
This is the only way to experience genuine transformation.
New wine requires new wine skins so that God’s final recovery can be preserved. Jesus is coming for a church without spot or wrinkle, as well as, a glorious church (Ephesians 5:27). This principle cannot be compromised now because a glorious church must be made ready to “greet” the LORD Jesus at His appearing.
The old is the enemy of the new

“No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.” Luke 5:39

This is the reluctance our generation has for the New Covenant. The taste of previous moves of God, which is not a bad thing, has crytallized into certain traditions, that has not only locked God’s people out of the Promise (Hebrews 3:10-11), but has limited the Holy One of Israel (Psalm 78:41). Why are you saying “the old is better” when the new has come and it is here to stay? Why hold on to the shadows of the old when all that they represented and were pointing to has come? If we don’t let go of the old, we cannot have the new; and even if we could have something of the new while retaining the old, we will only waste it. There will be an accident. The new wine will burst. And we will have wasted a portion of what God is recovering in our days.

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17

This is not the time to enter into arguments with men, because there will always be many who will not follow Jesus all the way, even when it is clear that they are in error. It is like that because they are drunk with the old. There is no space to accommodate the new wine. If you will ever receive the new, you will need to “vomit” (let go of) the old wine, so that God can give you a new heart and a new spirit (which is essentially the new wine skin that can contain/preserve the new wine of God’s recovery today). Ezekiel 36:26-28
This is the time to know, with certainty, what the LORD is doing, and to find out what your portion is, so that you can make good use of the opportunity God gives you to be a fruitful member of His body.
“Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”
“All of us who have grown to be spiritually mature should think this way too. And if there is any of this that you don’t agree with, God will make it clear to you.” (Easy-to-Read Version)

Philippians 3:15

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotation is from the King James Version.

Picture Credit: South Valley Church Australia

Grace, Life Mastery, Spirituality

The Hidden Part

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Psalm 51:6

There is no other credible way for you to know what God has put in you as raw materials (talents, abilities, strengths) than discovering the crucial place of your spirit, as a lamp in the hands of God, with which He helps you to search the innermost part of your being. Now, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). Which means your spirit without the salvation experience is a lamp without light, hence, you cannot begin to see and experience the kingdom of God (God’s government) within you. 

Luke 17:20-21 

“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: [21] Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Every man is a spirit, that has a soul and lives in a body. That spirit requires a regeneration – that means “a taking out of darkness into light, a transfer from the lineage of Adam into Christ, and a restoration of the broken link to God”. Without it, the spirit can still be functional, and it may appear to be enlightened, but that light is a mere spark that will end in sorrow (Isaiah 50:11).

What appears to be light is the infiltration of the prince of darkness, who knows how to camouflage as an angel of light, to invade you with supposed “secret knowledge” that will hijack the use of your God-given potential for anti-Christ purposes, and it will end in sorrows. 

Experiencing that crucial regeneration is what truly lightens your spiritman. And it is with this regenerated spirit, as a lamp of the LORD, that God searches the innermost parts of your being, to help you discover His resources within you, which are tools for the expression of His Kingdom from within you into your God-given sphere of influence.

John 1:9 “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”

John 9:5  “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 

John 12:46 “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.”

Truth is the constitution of the inward parts. The inward parts (plural) are the various agencies of human expression in the soul. Outside of God’s Truth, they will conceive and produce worst evils that we can hardly imagine, and even when good is done, it is done as a means to achieve a selfish end. A selfish end may not immediately appear evil but it is a mild version of evil that takes a renewed mind to discern. And a renewed mind is a product of a regenerated spirit. 

But a person’s commitment to truth is actually determined by his hidden part (singular). That is the spirit man. When we choose the way of the cross, it is not mere knowledge of godliness that we begin to experience, rather it is wisdom (applied Knowledge of the grace) of God that we begin to experience. 

That means it is not knowledge first in the kingdom of God, that happens later in the mind of the soul (Romans 12:2); rather, it is wisdom first. “…in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom”. The LORD Jesus Himself will make you to know (experience) wisdom in your hidden part (spirit), which is the application of the Grace of God that cannot fail to transform a life, so that you are inwardly enabled to live according to the Truth that God desires. 

We have several parts in the mind (inward parts); they are the will, emotions, intellect, memory, imagination and reason. God desires truth in these parts, but that can never happen until He has made you to know wisdom in your spirit (hidden part). This is the gospel of the New Testament. We don’t begin by trying to change first, by committing to a repetition of a new habit so as to displace an old bad habit. No.

We begin from the spirit, where there is communion (with God), intuition and conscience. This is where God’s wisdom is. This is where the grace of God is lodged. It is not your works; it is God’s completed works simply activated by your faith in Christ Jesus. Once you believe in that Grace which is hidden in you when you get born again, you have activated the wisdom of God, and it will only produce “…the increase of His government” in your life that guarantees unending peace (Isaiah 9:6). 

If you want to touch the genuine Light that can light your spirit and make you to know that WISDOM that transforms, please pray with me:

Father, I believe in my heart that Jesus is the LORD and I confess with my mouth that He was raised from the death. I repent, confess and forsake my sins. I disown my current life in order to receive the New Life of Jesus. Thank you LORD. AMEN.  

NOTE: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are from the King James Version.

Picture Credit: holdingtotruth dot com

faith, Grace, Spirituality

How to Profit from the WORD of God

Before we all got born again, we already had fixed ideas, that have formulated what is known as our worldview. A worldview is simply what it says, “the way we view (see, interpret) the world (and the people, events and actions in it)”. These ideas are the ways we interpret life, define ourselves, and of course, choose our course or direction in life.

We have gained this worldview through culture, entertainment, education, upbringing and religion. It is on the basis of our unique worldviews that we are practically different from each other, not because of our tribe, nationality or even social status.

This way of thinking, informed by your worldview, remains with you, even after you get born again, unless you go on by “renewing your mind” with the word of God (Romans 12:2). And it is these individual perspectives that we often times bring to the word of God. So, we read INTO the Scriptures our ready made ideologies and belief systems, instead of reading what God’s word actually says with an open mind.

What is an open mind?

This is an unbiased mind. A mind that refuses to determine the meaning of facts before considering the “figures”, that is, the content of information available. While this is not talking about an empty mind, with no fixed set of ideas, it is a mind that gives a set of information the chance to explain (or prove) itself. And as you know, the Scriptures affirm that we who are born again have been given a sound mind, which is the mind of Christ (2 Timothy 1:7, 1 Corinthians 2:16, Philippians 2:5).

Even though the books of 2 Timothy and 1 Corinthians show that we already have this mind as our inheritance, we see the Spirit of God saying in the book of Philippians, to “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” (2:5). That is, if you do not insist that this is your new mind, you will keep indulging your old mind, and you will suppress the agenda of God for your life. Until you belief exactly what God says in His Word, not your old mind’s worldly interpretation of what He says, you cannot profit from the Word of God.

Renewing the mind

So how do we renew our minds? First, you must know that to renew means to change the settings of your mind, you know, as if to return it to factory setting. Renew! It means all that you have believed contrary to God’s Word must now be dropped. And you experience this renewing in a progressive fashion. Your mind is being renewed as you exchange your old beliefs for God’s truth.

Now, it is a mind that is constantly experiencing this renewing that can read the bible and profit from it.

To use aids or not

While it is proper for us all to read what others have written about portions of God’s Word, however, it is our renewed mind that helps us to discern what is a correct interpretation and application of God’s Word and what is simply a result of human ideas. I read expositions of a number of respected men of God, who themselves are examples of a renewed mind, but every once in a while I come across certain interpretations or even applications that I tend to pause, and check the Scriptures like the Bereans (Acts 17:11).

This a result of a mind undergoing constant renewing. The product of such “checking” might be a challenge of something I still quietly believe that is not supported by the full counsel of God. What do I do? I drop it, by the grace of God. But sometimes also if, in checking the Scriptures over and over, I realize that what is being taught is really not supported by Scriptures (unless it is made to say what it doesn’t say), then I will have to set aside that one, and uphold God’s Word.

I wish most of our brothers and sisters will do this. We love men too much that even when the Word of God clearly cancels out (or contradicts) what they are preaching, we will only excuse them, and “sanctify” their opinion as God’s Word when it is not. I believe we should honour men, but we must have an unbroken loyalty to Jesus much more, to always choose Him over anyone who preaches or teaches otherwise, as we seek to live fully for Him.

Without a renewed mind, we will keep reading denominational sentiments into the Word of God. And you know, that’s why people read this Bible, that is so clearly written, and refuse to see what it actually says, simply because a preacher has taught otherwise. If God is going to make progress with us, we have to allow God’s Word to change all our preconceived ideas (things which we’ve never questioned but is not supported by God’s Word). This is what it means for His Kingdom to come in our lives.

So, what have we said:

1. To understand God’s Word, we must read it with an open mind.

2. The best “open mind” is the renewed mind or the mind that is constantly being renewed by God’s Word.

3. We must learn to accept God’s Truth over self-imposed interpretations and/or applications of God’s Word.

4. When we continue with sectional or denominational sentiments that are clearly unbiblical, we are showing the measure of our unbelief, and we limit how far God can go with us.

And what have we not said yet: 

5. The Holy Spirit is the One assigned to lead us into ALL aspects of the TRUTH. Hence, He must be the One to interpret the Word He inspired in the first place, and show us how to apply it (2 Corinthians 3:6, John 14:26). Which means we have to seek Him in prayers to know His mind (what He means in each Scripture). 

6. And how do we know that IT is of the Spirit? Whatsoever He teaches us will glorify Christ. Among other things, that means it will not emphasize ALL that God has found fault with (Hebrews 8:7-8, 13) and it will not promote any aspect of the divine revelation to an extreme that will sideline other equally important aspects of God’s Word  (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It will encourage us to leave all shadows in the Scriptures in order to embrace the risen LORD Himself, who is the Substance. We leave the pictures for the PERSON!

John 15:26, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:”

7. There is something about the love of the Truth that separates those who can profit from God’s Word from those who cannot. In 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12, we see that one critical thing that can make a person to perish is to not love the truth (v.10). In such a case, “…God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie”  (v.11) and they further confirm this fate as their own choice by (still) believing “…not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (v.12).

All these 7 points revolve around one central principle of life: the principle of freewill. You are always free to choose. You can either believe the Truth or dismiss it. You can either love the Truth or despise it. Anyone who profits from God’s Word is certainly one who LOVES the Truth, has his FAITH in the Truth and HOPES in the Truth. 

Hebrews 4:2, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”

Cf: 2 Thessalonians 2:10, 1 John 3:3, 1 Corinthians 13:13

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are from the King James Version.

Picture credit: DoNotDepart, Swordsearcher